Thursday, May 10, 2012

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Yellow-headed Blackbirds are gorgeous.  Though not real common in the Portland area, a few spend time at RNWR in the spring and early summer.  There is one in particular along South Big Lake between markers 11 and 12 that spends a lot of time in the cattails next to the road.
I've been trying to get a good shot of it for over a year now.  Something always seems to go wrong, including being the second in line to get the shot.  I lucked out, or maybe it was finally just my time, on April 21.  
I had rented a 600mm lens along with a 1.7x teleconverter that weekend.  The top two shots and the one below were taken with that lens combination, while the one above was taken with my 70 - 300mm zoom at 300mm. I was having trouble keeping the 600mm still and many images turned out soft, including these.  The image taken with the 300mm is sharper, but the images taken with the 600mm filled the frame better even though they were taken from further away.  This allowed me to use more sharpening than usual to compensate.     
The call of the Yellow-headed Blackbird is a crazy combination of buzzing and clanking as it throws its head back and rotates it around. Listen here courtesy of Birdfellow.