This rare visitor to Northern Virginia has been quite an attraction. The Northern Shrike or also known as the Grey Shrike does not normally come as far south as Virginia. This bird has been hanging around the Woodlands park for a few weeks and is easy to spot. Getting good pictures can be a problem because it perches high up in the trees for a good look around for food. Over a period of a few hours though, I noticed there were a few favorite spots where he returned to often. I took advantage and got a few good shots using a 600mm lens with a 1.4 extender. Next time I go, I’ll bring along a crop sensor camera and maybe get a little larger image.
A 10K race in the morning and a drive through Blackwater NWR in the afternoon. It was a perfect weather day, warm for November. Bald eagles are common at the reserve but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. This one is sitting on the former site of an osprey nest. Eagles enlarge their nest every year and it is not uncommon for eagles to steal the sticks from osprey nests. Next year when the osprey return, they will construct a new nest and the eagles will be raising their young in the newly expanded nest.
I paid a visit to the Smithsonian Biology Conservation Center on Sunday. Typically only once a year the public is invited to visit the center. This past weekend was ideal due to the mild temperature and slight breeze. There were exhibits explaining the activities undertaken by the scientists, researchers and interns at the center. My favorites were the birds i.e. Red Crowned cranes, kingfishers and rails. I tried to see the bison, but they were off in a small valley out of sight. Photographing the birds was a challenge since they were in enclosures with wire fence fronts. The lighting was also a challenge being fluorescent tubes and some other fixtures. A wide aperture helped with the fence and a neutral target helped with the lighting.