All about Hoofbeats & Footprints

Birds & Blooms

The one place I can say one can get birds and blooms together each year is at the sunflower fields in Poolesville, Maryland at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area.

Three fields of sunflowers are planted each year to attract wildlife, and to support the Mourning Dove hunting season in the fall. It’s a very popular place and the Holy Grail of images is capturing stunning and vibrantly blue Indigo Buntings that sit and sing their hearts out on the sunflowers. (Make sure you click on the HD button for best video quality.)

It takes the very patient photographer to stand along the sunflower fields and wait. Wait and hope that the birds will land on a sunflower that is in reasonable reach with their lens’s focal length. Just as twilight was beginning to fade and the promise of the new day began, the birds started to sing their hearts out. So dark it was at first that I had to use ISO 4000 at f/5.6 with the 1.4xx extender on the 500mm lens. Not my favorite situation but sometimes its better to have something than nothing. I believe it’s more like “A bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.”

When the sun began to reach over the horizon, strangely enough the birds flew up into the nearby trees and bushes to continue their melody.

I truly hoped that another would return and luckily one did for just a brief visit. Shortly afterwards people began to arrive at the field and as you can imagine, the more people are milling about, the less the birds are bound to stay. Staying for just a bit longer I decided to head out and check out the other two fields. Along the way I managed to capture a few other tweeties.

Once the flowers fade the sunflower seeds begin to develop and the feasting will begin. I’ll be back to the sunflower fields this weekend and can once more enjoy the sweet-sweet-sweet calls of the Indigo Buntings.

9 replies »

  1. I only saw some fly by when I was there this past weekend. I think it was way too hot and perhaps would have seen more if I could have stayed later. Perhaps next year.

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