Friday, May 16, 2008

New Bird for the Yard- The White Crowned Sparrow

Good evening and I'll be soon off to bed, but I wanted to share images of a white crowned sparrow that visited our yard today. I looked out our window this morning, and there it was, eating the seed just off our front porch. It really surprised me, as I've never seen this bird visit the yard before. I must say, this was the best look that I've had at this species. The seed is only about ten feet away from where I was standing. Unfortunately our dirty window and the lack of light led to a less than spectacular photograph.
I took the afternoon off today, and I headed to Midwest Photo Exchange's tent sale. I lucked out and they had a tripod that I had been eyeing for quite some time- a Gitzo explorer- for a really great price. I found a ball head I like, and headed home for the afternoon. I set up shop in the front yard, photographing mushrooms and weeds, when I turned around, and noticed the white crowned sparrow had returned. You can see that from far away, and without binoculars, this bird is rather plain looking, but up close, it is quite spectacular. This morning Megan saw it and said that it looked like someone had applied "white-out" correction fluid to its head!
As I was watching the birds further away, a female house sparrow swooped onto our neighbor's driveway and snatched up an arthopod of some type. I managed to get a few decent shots of here. There are hundreds of these non-native birds in our neighborhood.
And this evening, being without Megan and she flew to Alabama to attend here future sister-in-laws shower, I went down to Kenney Park to practice my photography. I'm very much concentrating on creating dynamic landscape images that have continuous flow througought the photograph. This side channel of the Olentangy has always been one of my favorite subjects since moving to our present house. The lines, the reflections, and the exposed roots of the American sycamore are all quite intriguing to me. I captured a range of exposures of this same composition with plans to compile a high dynamic range image.

As it grew dark, I thought I might play with my Vivitar 285HV external flash. This is the result that I am most happy with. I metered on the sky, set my exposure in manual mode, all while the camera was mounted on my new tripod. I placed the flash just out of the range of the picture, holding flush against the tree, pointing straight upward. This created some wonderful shadows and highlights, and I'm quite pleased with the results. A crop and some sharpening are in order, but I'm happy! I rounded out the evening as it got dark with some shots of the moon. But those will have to wait until Sky Watch Friday.

Tomorrow I'm off to Shawnee State Forest, so expect at Collective Naturalizing post soon.

Have a great weekend,



  1. Lovely White-Crowned Sparrow. They are very easy to spot with that beautiful head once you have one. I'm sure it will be back!

  2. Tom: Very nice post and the sparrow is really nice with the head stripes.

    I linked you in today with a post on bees. I thought you may know what one of the bees was.

  3. White-crowned sparrows are so smart looking. I can identify with the dirty windows. ;-)
    Interesting photo effect with the tree and sky.

  4. Great pics! I've never seen a white-crowned sparrow. I've been trying to catch the birds in my yard but they tend to take off before I can aim. :-)

    Your pics make me want to find some place to go next week with my camera.

  5. Great shot of the White Crowned Sparrow. We had several just passing through and feasting on dandelion seeds last week.

  6. Congrats and they are fun birds to have singing around the house!