Friday, March 15, 2013


Virginia Rail
We are now on month 3 of 2013.  Today's post is about discovering the impossible dream.  Capturing the most difficult birds with a camera!
Crissal Thrasher
My rule in birding is that I must photograph the bird well before I can count it on my observations.  I've heard the Crissal Thrashers and Virginia Rails before but couldn't count a single one until I got my eye on the bird!
My ear is good at picking up the slightest sounds.  The voice of the Sora is unmistakable and yet it is rarely seen!  The Virginia Rail is the same!  The Crissal Thrasher sings its elaborate song early in the morning.  The minute you get close enough to get a decent shot, it drops to the ground. 
Curve-bill Thrasher
Curve-bills are completely different.  They'll sit and look you in the eye.  But not the Crissal Thrasher. 
And the Treecreeper can be heard and seen easily.  Well this one particular bird had been on my list for awhile as was the Crissal.  And the most frustrating part? I would miss each one every time!  The issue is that I must work.......and it interferes with the times I can go and find some of these birds:)  I think I am not alone here with this issue:)
Kathie and I went to Saguaro National Park to specifically find this bird.  I had heard the bird in 3 separate locations but couldn't count it because of my rule.  And Kathie suspected she saw the bird off a trail during a walk she made awhile back.  We went to the trail and located the intricate song of the Crissal.  We found the bird near a wash.  But everytime we got close enough, the bird dropped.  It was tricky but very worth the effort.
On an outing to Whitewater Draw, my greatest dreams came true as a Virginia Rail was seen out in the open.  This is a very rare thing!  I was with another photographer at the time and we focused our cameras on this bird instead of the hundreds of Snow Geese flying over our heads.  Most photographers in the area were snapping shots of the geese but when a rail makes a grand entrance, you drop everything you're doing and get pics!
The Treecreeper is hard to get a focus on as it matches with the bark of the tree.  Many times this bird will blur into the bark.  Very frustrating!
When these rare moments occur; complete focus happens. 
These shots made me smile.  So what birds would you like to get better shots of?


  1. Just fabulous shots, Chris! Wow, you are getting some awesome birds on your list...and getting great photos of them too! Thanks for all your comments on my recent posts!

  2. A beak a little bit like the kiwi bird... I am sure you don't agree because you now know all the tiny details about the birds you are encountering :-)
    Excellent job.

  3. Bonitas aves parecidas algunas a las de aquí como el Rascón (Rallus... )y el agateador(certhia.. ).. Un saludo desde las Españas.

  4. Chris, they are all great shots. I was able to see a Virginia Rail last weekend. They are a nice treat to see. Happy Birding!

  5. Lovely photos Chris. You did well with the Treecreeper - really hard to photograph this species.I need to take better shots of nearly all species! The only ones I'm fairly pleased with are Waxwing and Robin. My lens is only 70-300 and usually birds are too far away :(

  6. Jakość zdjęć, zresztą dobra, jest nie ważna. Ważne jest, że masz ptaka, którego bardzo chciałeś. Pozdrawiam.
    Image quality, in fact good, is not important. It is important that you have a bird, a very wanted. Yours.

  7. Wonderful shots Chris! Great shots!

  8. Wonderful work getting images of these hard to photograph birds Chris!

    I want to get better photos of rails my self and the American Bittern.

  9. awesome group of elusive birds!

  10. Great shots, Chris. I know how frustrating it is to 'hear' a bird and then not see it... Glad you got some of your harder birds to capture though...

    What bird do I want to capture? EAGLE.... Still have not ever gotten a picture of one... Darn it.


  11. Your "rule" creates greater challenge, which I believe you love and need. I'm very slow when it comes to the birds, but getting better after some practice in South Africa. These photos are great.

  12. Birds I want better shots of...all of them! Just kidding. Actually, I still want to photo owls, more Eagles, the Elegant Trogon, and a creeper like you got! Nice job on all the shots, Chris.

  13. Congrats Chris! Those are tough birds indeed, way to persevere!


  14. You did it, Chris! Especially the 3rd and the last photo are terrific! I’d like to take pictures of Japanese bush warbler, audible but mostly invisible bird, which tells the arrival of spring, or of any birds flying in air.


  15. Wow, superb photographs of very elusive birds, Chris! Awesome rail and thrasher images! It's a never-ending challenge for me to get great shots of American and Least Bitterns, Pileated Woodpeckers and any owl.

  16. Wonderful photos! Congrats on many wonderful sightings. I really love your Virginia Rail views.

  17. Well not better shots - just any shots would do. But I would really like to get the Elf Owl that buzzes around our house in the evenings. I have seen him numerous times but trying to get a photo - grrrr! But hey I'm up for the challenge - one day I will succeed.


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