A rare visitor to Northern Virginia

Grey Shrike, Woodlands, Centreville, Virginia, evening, rare, bird, song bird, Northern Shrike,

Northern Shrike

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.

I like trains, too.

J-611, steam, engine, NS, Norfolk, Southern, railroad,

The Norfolk Southern class J-611 steams through Virginia.

I like steam locomotives – who doesn’t. I lean more toward the non-streamlined engines, but the J-611 is mighty impressive. Last weekend, the J-611 made three excursions through the Virginia countryside. She was pulling 20 passenger cars, all fully occupied. I wanted to get some shots of her in the distance, but couldn’t decide on a location. I ended up at a crossing where the 611 roared by. She was going up grade which accounts for the extra smoke. Several crossings made for lots of whistles and bell clanging. Some fun. Some day I hope to perfect my panning skills enough to blur the wheels and rods while keeping the engine in focus.

Welder

Welder Reston Metro-7145

I got off the METRO at the new station which is still under construction. A welder was working near the exit. Great gobs of molten metal would fall and splatter on the floor below. Fortunately I had a camera with me.

Welder Reston Metro-7154

 

It was a bit of a challenge to get a decent exposure. The work lights are not nearly as bright as the sparks. The sparks kept over exposing and losing color. I finally hit on a compromise and finished it in post.Welder Reston Metro-7179What a fun challenge to try to¬†get a shot like this on the fly. I wouldn’t offer it for sale, but it is fun to look at here.

 

Autumn blossoms

Ida Lee Park-5251

If you plan for it, you can have colorful flowers blooming well into the autumn months. Here in Leesburg, the Master Gardeners have planned well. Most of the big showy types are gone or well on the way, but there are quite a few smaller flowers providing plenty of color throughout the garden. I like to wander the garden looking for late butterflies, especially Monarchs. I usually see a few, presumably on their way to Mexico, taking up nectar.

Getting ready to bloom

Getting ready to bloom

Not all the flowers attract butterflies, at least not that I have seen. Most though attract bees of all sorts, as well as ants and other insects. They also attract other critters like me. Most days I will be the only one there watching as the season turns. I like the quiet. I can hear the birds better. Even my sandwich taste better. Thank you Master Gardeners of Leesburg for your wonderful garden.

Ida Lee Park-5081 Ida Lee Park-5101