Chickadees in the Backyard

black capped chickadee poecile atricapillus chestnut backed chickadee poecile rufescens

I was getting the itch to shoot something a few days ago but it wasn’t really the kind of day where I could go for a drive and find much interesting. Elected to go outside for a few minutes and see how long the birds coming the the backyard feeder felt like sitting still for me. Of the half dozen or so species out there, only two really will permit my presence near them – both Chickadees. The Black-Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus ) and the Chestnut-Backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) tend to be willing subjects. One almost landed on my head before deciding that perhaps that would be a mistake.

Morris Valley in the Fraser Valley of BC

great blue heron ardea herodias flies over morris valley road salmon spawning in the harrison river

Last year I went deeper into the Fraser Valley in search of spawning salmon and the Bald Eagles that would be feeding on their remains. I saw no eagles. I did manage to see a lot of seagulls and Great Blue Herons which are a bit less interesting, but subjects which would occasionally sit still for me to photograph.

glaucous winged gull laurus glaucescen flies over spawning salmon glaucous winged gull laurus glaucescen watches over spawning salmon

These are two Glaucous-winged Gulls (Larus glaucescen) feeding on salmon eggs and carcasses in the Harrison River.

Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) Drinking

honey bee drinking at birdbath

I have occasionally seen the odd honey bee drinking water from the edge of the pond, and occasionally from the edge of the birdbath – but never en masse like they have this year. I don’t know if it is the nature of the summer weather, or the fact the neighbours have a beehive – but they have been there every day in numbers for most of the last few months. I got the tripod and my macro lens in very close to them and aside from a few buzzing around my head they didn’t much care I was there. At least they sit still on the birdbath relative to on the flowers.

honey bee drinking at birdbath honey bees drinking at birdbath group

honey bee drinking at birdbath honey bee drinking at birdbath

Backyard Beetle Macro

A few more Beetle macro shots from July. Do not know the species of the first beetle which I also posted earlier. Probably part of the Genus Cantharis. The second appears to be some variety of Longhorned Beetle – probably Xestoleptura crassipes. Both are crawling on flowers from Astrantia major.

beetle on astrantia major beetle on astrantia major

longhorned beetle (xestoleptura sp. possibly) on astrantia major longhorned beetle (xestoleptura sp. possibly) on astrantia major

And the winner is…

I ultimately elected to go with the Canon EF 70-200 f/4 L IS. The Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 L IS may be a slightly faster lens, but I can’t justify almost double the price (and weight!) for that 1 stop.

I tested this lens out today in the backyard, mostly hand held… and I was quite happy with its performance. I have other lenses that I consider to be good quality optically but this one was pretty fantastic (even if some of my shots weren’t 😉 ).

Black Capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). Second picture is a 100% crop of the first. This was an experiment, I realize the larger version is a bad photo.

black-capped chickadee chickadee cropped

I’m impressed!