Pyrrhuloxia: Zoom It
We heard from another photographer that Falcon Dam State Park is a good spot for this bird. Indeed it is—we arrived in late afternoon and spotted several pairs right away.
We carefully watched these magnificent birds to determine daily activity pattern. As it turned out, they would visit the dripping water pipes.
So we decided to offer a more attractive place to drink. We installed a big bottle with a small hole as a dripper and underneath we placed an aluminium grilling pan as a birdbath.
It took the birds just a couple of minutes to detect the water. Taking pictures of the male was relatively easy because it was quite tame after a couple of days. But when it displayed it got tricky.
It used to sit high up in a bush but preferred the shadowy center. The ambient light was so bright that in the pictures I took without fill-flash one could only see a black shadow. So I had to use a flash to brighten the shadow.
The females were the opposite, they were extremely cautious and I didn't manage to get real good pictures. They always showed up after the males and took off with the slightest disturbance. When I set up a blind she didnt approach at all. This behaviour is quite unusual for birds, normally you can approach the duller sex better then the colorful one.
I used my 500mm lens sometimes with 1.4x extender, and very often I used flash as fill-flash.
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