This past weekend I decided to make a trip to Signal Hill in hopes of finding some new Song Bird arrivals (which unfortunately there were none). This location is not one that I typically do much Song Bird Photography at but what this location does provided is a wide open space with prime lighting conditions (thats if the sun is not blocked by cloud).
It’s a location I hope will provide some great opportunities once our Song Birds arrive.
With that said I arrived on location at around 5:20 am and made my way down the steep steps to the bottom of the hill along the East Coast trail. Once at the bottom I began exploring and listening for any sounds of life. Off in the distance I heard the calls of a Fox Sparrow (one of our first Song Bird migrants) so I went to investigate. It was perched among the spruce trees you see in the image below (iPhone image).
I slowly positioned myself in front of the trees with the distant hill as my background and was able to come away with this image.
Moments after I heard something behind me…there amongst the rusty colored foliage was this beautiful Red Fox.
I will admit heading to this location that morning I had hopes that I would cross paths with one of the resident foxes.
I hadn’t seen this beauty in a month now and back then the ground was covered in snow. Getting the opportunity to photograph it surrounded by beauty rusty colored foliage was such a wonderful treat.
Our encounter was short and sweet as it continued on its way searching for food. I have to say the below image is probably one of my all time favorite images I have captured of a Red Fox. The surrounding colors and the fact that you see its full tail makes the image for me.
With a few images in the bag and thicker cloud moving in it was time to make my way home.
Along the way I decided to check a small pond which I have noticed will attract Northern Pintails during this time of year. A few weeks ago I saw 4 female Pintails in the pond and I knew it wouldn’t be long before the males showed up to try and win over the ladies.
Sure enough there were two male Pintails at the pond when I arrived. I slowly made my way down to the waters edge and laid flat among the dry grass, which I quickly realized was half in water since I got wet rather fast (I forgot my new chest waders at home..shame on me). I wasn’t going to let that bother me as the conditions on the pond where perfect. Little to no wind, muted light (which was great since it was about mid morning and if the sun was out the ducks would have been back lit and the light would have been too harsh). With lots of high foliage and a small hill surrounding the pond the reflections in the water were perfect for these conditions.
At first the females would approach providing some great looks.
There were four in total that morning.
Then this male approached…
This individual I named the King…he drove all the other pintails away from his position and protected his lady love. The other male Pintail stayed far away and any approach was challenged by the King.
At one point a female tried getting close to him and his lady, which he quickly went on the attack trying to scare her away. After driving the female off the male Pintail glided right past me making a vocalization which I was able to capture..
This is an image I have been after for so long. In fact I have been trying for sometime to capture a nice clean pintail image showing off its long tail but to now have one with a male during one of its vocalizations, I couldn’t be happier.
All in all it was an amazing morning and with a full memory card of images it was time to head home.