Black-tailed Gnatcatcher — At Ease

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One of the species that I see often on my morning walks is the Black-tailed Gnatcatcher.  These minute birds (two could easily sit side by side in the palm of my hand) are busy early-morning foragers in desert scrub and low trees, hopping from branch to branch in search of small insects.  As common as they are, they are extremely difficult to photograph, for three reasons.  First, they often are partly concealed by twigs and foliage.  Second, they never sit still for more than a few seconds.  Finally, my camera’s autofocusing mechanism works extremely poorly when it struggles to distinguish something so small from surrounding twigs.

Therefore, I’m thrilled whenever I can capture an image of a gnatcatcher.  I got very lucky a couple of weeks ago when I came across a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher taking it easy between forays for insects.  This little individual sat for me, very cooperatively, for about 1/2 minute.  It was obviously relaxed, warming up in the early morning sun, and not especially concerned about me, standing just a few yards (meters) away from it.

It’s very seldom that any individual of any species is so cooperative and I rejoice whenever I have an opportunity like the one this bird presented.

In order to realize just how fortunate I was you’d have to accompany me on dozens of walks from which I return home mostly empty handed.  Images like this are what make it worthwhile to keep on lugging that heavy camera and lens.

Images made with a Canon 5Div, 400mm f4 DO II lens+1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 500, f5.6 @ 1/2000.

2 Replies to “Black-tailed Gnatcatcher — At Ease”

  1. Dawn Renee says:

    Lucky (and great) shots then. I need a cute Gnatcatcher near the kitchen’s produce bowl during the summer time.

  2. cintwigg says:

    So glad that you caught those images! Black-tailed Gnatcatchers are fetching birds.

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