Central Winds Park, 10/8/2012

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American Kestrel
I was at Central Winds for about an hour before work this morning, and it started off pretty slow. Interestingly, though, 19 Black-bellied Whistling Ducks landed by the pond in the park and 17 Blue-winged Teal flew over Lake Jesup (my first seen in the park).  But I found very few warblers, and only 7 total species: Ovenbird, Black-and-white Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, American Redstart, Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, and Yellow-throated Warbler.  It was an overcast morning, and things remained quiet until the sun started to poke through the clouds (sometime around 8:30).  Then things started to get more active, and I found a couple more of my "firsts" for the park: a Scarlet Tanager and 3 Indigo Buntings. Of course, as things were getting good, I had to go. But the biggest photographic highlight was an American Kestrel.  It flew toward me (!) and landed on the goal post in the fields.  I now finally have some presentable photos of Kestrels in flight (all the ones I've had before were butt shots).

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Black-bellied Whistling Ducks
Nineteen of these ducks were at the pond, and it took me a while to get a angle on a few that were posing nicely.

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Scarlet Tanager
I'm showing this photo mostly for ID purposes, but it also illustrates the challenge of shooting up into a back-lit subject.  Since the sky is brighter than the bird, the bird is more in shadow.  To compensate for that, I had to overexpose.  Since it was cloudy out, the sky isn't that pretty and I had to raise my ISO to get a fast shutter speed.  I shot this at ISO 640.  This results an image with a white background and a dark, grainy bird.  I did a fair amount of work to remedy this: I brightened the shadows in Lightroom and darkened the sky to get a little color in it.. I also blurred the grain in the sky and leaves, though I left it in the bird because I want it to be sharp.  But even imperfect photos can be great for identifying a bird.


  1. A short morning of birding and photographing beats none at all! Nice shots, especially of the small, quick kestrel!


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