This morning I dropped by Mead Gardens before work. I'd seen an "empid" flycatcher there over the last few days I hadn't been able to photograph. Others had seen it too, and yesterday several people photographed it, recorded its call, and confirmed it to be a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher. I didn't know that this morning. All I wanted was to photograph it to help identify it. Funny how things work, though. I found the bird, and I took several photos, but all of them were blurry (my camera focused on the leaves behind the bird). So I didn't get the photograph, but I did get the ID. And it's a lifer for me. Hopefully it will stick around one more morning and let me photograph it tomorrow.
But this morning wasn't a photographic loss. A Northern Flicker posed nicely for me, and A Great Egret caught a frog and played with it long enough for me to get a few photos. Interestingly, this egret and several ibises were standing in water a few inches deep that usually is part of the lawn, but there has been so much rain that this depression in the lawn is now supporting frogs.
These photographs also demonstrate the challenges of side lighting. The left side of this bird is brightly lit by the sun, but the right side is not, creating deep shadows. It's impossible, even with today's sensors, to keep both sides of the bird properly exposed. I opted to under expose a stop, allowing me to retain at least some detail everywhere except for behind the egret's neck. The rest of the bird was in dark shadow, but I raised the shadow levels in Lightroom. I suspect if I underexposed more I would not be able to get any detail in the frog or shadowed feathers. Of course, the best solution would have been to move so that the sun was behind me, but I didn't want to go wading right before work without a change of socks and shoes.