Rich Ditch's Photography Blog

November 25, 2011

Three Phoebe Day

Filed under: Birds, comparisons, favorite places, Gilbert Water Ranch, rarities — richditch @ 4:14 pm
Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Black Phoebe, November 24, 2011, Nikon D300, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), tripod, ISO 800, 1/400th second @ f/8

Birding has been very good in the Phoenix metro area lately, and I’ve been enjoying getting out shooting again in the tolerable temperatures.

A friend sent me email from his iPhone yesterday about a cooperative bird at a park about 25 miles away, and even though the light wasn’t great I made a quick trip to take advantage of the opportunity. I took so many photos that I’ve barely started to edit them, so I’ll save those for a post sometime in the future.

On the way home from that trip I decided to stop at the Gilbert Water Ranch to follow up on a report from earlier in the day. A vagrant Eastern Phoebe had been seen again and the location was close enough to the parking lot to make it worth a quick look.

As soon as I parked there was a flycatcher working 50 feet away and I wondered if it was the bird I hoped to see. It turned out to be the closely related Say’s Phoebe – a common bird in AZ that I always enjoy seeing.

I got my gear together and made the 10 minute walk to the Ranger Shed where the Eastern Phoebe was seen in the morning, and almost immediately found the bird sitting on a “Hitching Rail” beside the building.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Black Phoebe, November 24, 2011, Nikon D300, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), tripod, ISO 800, 1/160th second @ f/8

Over the next 20-30 minutes I was able to follow the phoebe around its small circuit as it visited various mesquite trees, and got some shots in a variety of settings.

Eastern Phoebe

Eastern Phoebe

Black Phoebe, November 24, 2011, Nikon D300, 300/2.8 AF-S plus TC20E (2x), tripod, ISO 800, 1/125th second @ f/8

I was surprised to find the small area of sky blue on the back of the phoebe, and have no explanation for it. Is the bird really that color there (I never saw any trace of blue on the hundreds of this species I used to see in NJ)? Is it a stain from something the bird brushed up against? If anyone has any input on this bird or on the species in general I’d love to hear it in a comment.

As I walked back to my car I bumped into a Black Phoebe, making my brief time at the Water Ranch a Three Phoebe Day. Thi is another common bird in AZ.

For comparison I’m including shots of both other phoebes from previous outings.

Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe

Black Phoebe, Gilbert Water Ranch, December 27, 2010, D200, 300/2.8 & TC20E, ISO 400, 1/320th @ f/5.6

Say's Phoebe

Say's Phoebe

Say’s  Phoebe, Gilbert Water Ranch, December 3, 2009, D200, 300/2.8 & TC20E, ISO 400, 1/500th @ f/10

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2 Comments »

  1. I saw your post on the BIRDWG05 listserv about the Eastern Phoebe and the photos here are terrific, I’ve seen your work before and have always been an admire. I dabble a little in the bird/macro photography as well and I strive to meet your quality of work – you’ve got some great stuff! Thanks for sharing with us.

    Susan Beebe
    http://sbeebe.smugmug.com/

    Comment by Susan Beebe — November 25, 2011 @ 6:02 pm

  2. Many thanks, Susan, for the nice words on my work.

    Comment by richditch — November 25, 2011 @ 6:34 pm


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