Black Phoebe At The Wetlands
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I will be showing fewer and fewer small animal, insect and spider photos as autumn progresses. Their season is coming to an end, and it’s time for me to move on to other subjects. I say that with a tinge of regret because it means that I’ll have to lay my beloved “bug” lens — my 180 Macro — aside for a while. But, I suspect that some of you may be pleased with the change of pace. There may be a few more dragonfly and insect photos in the next week or two, but then, that will be it for a while.
Today’s subject is an example of my new autumn-winter focus. This is a Black Phoebe, a species of flycatcher that is native to the southwest corner of the United States. I photographed this bird over at Sweetwater Wetlands the other morning.
A Black Phoebe is an extremely attractive little bird. It is about the size of a sparrow or, perhaps, just slightly larger. This bird loves to perch on low hanging tree limbs above water. I photographed this bird as it sat on a mesquite just above a creek. There, it observed the surface of the water for low flying insects. When it spotted prey, it mades a quick dive from its perch, seizing the prey while in flight, and then returned to its perch to eat. It repeated the process over and over and it was highly entertaining to watch. I watched this Phoebe leap from and return to its perch 15 or 20 times in a five-minute interval.
It sang while it was perching, uttering a series of high-pitched two note calls. All the while, it frequently bobbed its tail up and down with nervous energy.
Black Pheobes are closely related to another species of flycatcher that inhabits the area, the Vermilion Flycatcher. Vermilions are, of course, bright red in color (the males, anyway) and they are a bit less dependent on the presence of water than are their Phoebe cousins.
Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 400 DO, ISO 400, “M” setting, f5 @ 1/400.