Great Crested Flycatcher *long post*

Joined
Aug 15, 2008
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St. Louis, MO
I am on cloud 9 as I type. Today...was one of those days. If you don't like my story telling, now is the time to move on.:wink:

As I mentioned in my Catbird post...I went back this morning to this island/pennisula of trees that was VERY birdy yesterday. I was hoping to get clearer shots of the pair of Catbirds that seem to be in there. Well...at first light I heard them begin singing and soon saw them. They were flittering around everywhere, but did not get out much into the open today for some reason.

The gentle morning breeze felt wonderful as I sat in my blind. I acknowledged the fact that it was a pure joy to be sitting here, regardless if my target bird showed up or not. I decided to just sit tight and see what the day offered. I watched bird after bird work their way down this tree line to the family lake. A male Indigo bunting perched nice and pretty for me. I was getting some shots when I noticed something bright flying toward me. It wa YELLOW, or at least that is what stood out to me. I then saw another right behind it. They stopped in this patch of trees but were too high for me to get a shot in my blind. I got a little aggrivated as they flew off before I could I.D. them.

Oh well...I thought...and turned my attention to some E. Kingbirds that were hunting in the hay field beside me. It was then that I felt like something was watching me. I looked over to me right, and sitting on the chain I use as a gate to keep folks from driving over the damn...sat a beautiful Great Crested Flycatcher!:eek: This was the bird I saw fly over a few minutes before.

(exif intact for those who want it)
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This was the first time I ever had such a clear view of this species and to be quite honest...I was quite stunned by it. I quickly fired off several frames and was high fiving myself in the blind (quite a site let me tell you:biggrin:). It then flew back into the brush.

The selfish part of me began thinking, "boy, I wish it would have landed on a better perch". I know...but that is just how I am. It was not even 2 or 3 minutes later...here came a the pair of them, male and female, and they put on quite a show for me. As if to send me over the edge, they very politely posed for me on a sapling on the edge of this field. Oh yea...did I forget to mention that they were within 20 feet? The following are full frame shots or slight crops for comp only. Needless to say...I love days like this.

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On all of these portrait orientation shots...I had to go vertical to get the bird in the frame.

The way they were acting...I believe these 2 are also nesting near by. So...as much as I hate to:cool::wink:, I plan on being back in my blind there tomorrow as the sun comes up to claim another day. Hope you enjoyed these a fraction as much as I did creating them.
 
Joined
Jun 9, 2008
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Lima,Ohio
Love the story Jason and the shots are Incrdible,,, this is a target bird for me too,, have had them callin' here but so far no loooks, what kind of blind do you use,, I have a tent chair.
 
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Those are the bast shots of a Great-crested I've seen. Incredible! I would have been high fivin myself as well.
 
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Feb 11, 2009
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Nebraska
Jason, Great set and a great story! I'm not a "birder" but I love wildlife and watching/photographing from a viewing blind is always worth the effort. I'll bet on the Mississippi flyway you have opportunity to see all kinds of unique birds if your persistent!
 
Joined
Oct 27, 2008
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South Mississippi
A great series Jason. Those are indeed beautiful birds but they seem to stay some distance from me (of course, I must admit to NOT being in a blind at the time - <sigh> - guess the spiffy hat and my white beard must have spooked them).
 

Commodorefirst

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May 1, 2005
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Missouri
Just be aware folks, that Jason has the Cadillac or BMW of blinds!

for those of you on a cheaper budget, I recommend the Ameristep doghouse blind, plenty of room for two, and good price, and I also have used the kwik camo blind a lot too, very easy to pack and move. Also highly recommended.


By the way, Jason, As I told you on the phone, time in the field with a good opportunity and with you being a talented photog who knows how to set the camera, equals your superb shots, I expect nothing less ( how is that for pressure eh! Ha!) Well Done! For sure top 5 for you! Lifetime shots for many of us.
 
Joined
Apr 21, 2006
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Nashua, NH
Very nice shots Jason; like the story too. I would take out the first shot, however, just because the others have such a nice natural setting while the fence took a bit away.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
1,420
Location
St. Louis, MO
Nice set Jason!

Thanks Mike.

Love the story Jason and the shots are Incrdible,,, this is a target bird for me too,, have had them callin' here but so far no loooks, what kind of blind do you use,, I have a tent chair.

Thanks Russ, I recently bought a Double Bull Dark Horse Blind. I love it...though its more expensive than what I used before, which were Ameristep blinds. I had a DBL Chair blind, but it ripped apart in less than one year. I liked it except for that fact and that you are very limited on where you can shoot once your in the chair. The open window in front of you limits how far you can pan left or right not to mention your sitting in a chair and this also affects how far you can pan. This Double Bull blind offers a window that can be opened up for 180 degrees of use.

The most important part of this blind is that it was made to conceal you. Now that sounds weird, so let me explain. This blind is made so that its VERY dark inside the blind. You sit back inside, which is black, and if your wearing dark clothes, etc...you simply disappear inside the shadow. My lens does not stick out of the blind...its all inside. I can move (slowly and stay back in the dark) and birds don't see a thing.

I used this a few weeks ago on Turkeys...and had 3 long beards within 15 yards and I stood up in the blind and they did not see me, THAT says alot. Thanks for the kind words. Hope my explanation helps you out.

Great set, Jason! Don't you just love when serendipity happens? Sounds like a perfect way to spend a morning.

-Bill

Thanks Bill...it was a perfect day.

Those are the bast shots of a Great-crested I've seen. Incredible! I would have been high fivin myself as well.

Thanks Rich...they are among some of my best images I have ever been blessed to take. I appreciate your reply.

Jason, Great set and a great story! I'm not a "birder" but I love wildlife and watching/photographing from a viewing blind is always worth the effort. I'll bet on the Mississippi flyway you have opportunity to see all kinds of unique birds if your persistent!

Thanks Brad...during the right times of the year we get our fair share of birds. Most important part about all of this is one has to be out there putting in the time to find the subjects, study the subjects, and then set up to captialize on your time in the field.

Beautiful work as always Jason! I need to drag my blind out and go somewhere - just dunno where! LOL!

Thanks Dianne...just about any wooded setting will do. Add some fresh water (best if its moving a bit) and you will have a bird magnet.

Very nice Jason.
I always like looking at your work.

Can you show a pic of your blind? Do they get hot? Any thoughts on blinds you can share?

I've been thinking about getting one.

Thanks.

Joe, I can't recommend enough the need for a blind if you want super close up shots of birds. The use of a blind will help if you do not have a very long lens. When set up right...you can really get close to your subjects if needed. Lots of people set out to hike/walk and get photos of birds. Sometimes they can get super killer shots. However, it is my opinion...to get super close up shots, with the birds relaxed and doing their natural behavior, one should be hidden. You then can capture images of nature at work, not nature reacting to your presence.

I think the Ameristep Dog House or Penthouse (big) are just fine. The DogHouse is probably the one I would recommend most. Its super fast to set up, light, and does a good job. Any of the blinds out there that are like this style will work fine, as will others. I just look for a blind that sets up fast, and does not require you to put stuff together, etc...

I went with the Double Bull blind as it will serve a dual purpose for me. I get more bang for my $$ this way. If your willing to spend more...you can't go wrong with ANY of their blinds. They are the Gold Standard as it pertains to blinds, in my opinion anyway. They set up fast (once you learn how to do it) and are very rigid. They hide you better than anything I have tried so far. One thing I do not like about any of the blinds is that they are HOT. I cooked in mine yesterday and this morning, and its not that hot out yet! Price one has to pay I guess. Hope this helps and thanks for the kind words.

Great photos and story.

Thanks Randy...appreciate it.

A great series Jason. Those are indeed beautiful birds but they seem to stay some distance from me (of course, I must admit to NOT being in a blind at the time - <sigh> - guess the spiffy hat and my white beard must have spooked them).

My experience mimics yours Larry with these until yesterday. My beard is black (when I have one) and my Safari hat is tan :cool:...and I have scared my share of birds in the past too! Thanks for the reply.
 
Joined
Aug 15, 2008
Messages
1,420
Location
St. Louis, MO
Great set, great story. sounds like a super way to spend a morning!

Thanks Chad...not many ways better to spend a morning for sure.

Great story and shots. Looks I will have to get a blind.

A blind will sure increase your success rate. Thanks for replying.

Just be aware folks, that Jason has the Cadillac or BMW of blinds!

for those of you on a cheaper budget, I recommend the Ameristep doghouse blind, plenty of room for two, and good price, and I also have used the kwik camo blind a lot too, very easy to pack and move. Also highly recommended.


By the way, Jason, As I told you on the phone, time in the field with a good opportunity and with you being a talented photog who knows how to set the camera, equals your superb shots, I expect nothing less ( how is that for pressure eh! Ha!) Well Done! For sure top 5 for you! Lifetime shots for many of us.

Thanks Wade...no pressure on delivering shots eh?:eek::wink::biggrin: It sure is fun to get shots like this without driving all over this state or nation. Finding these on family property makes it all the more special.

Very nice shots Jason; like the story too. I would take out the first shot, however, just because the others have such a nice natural setting while the fence took a bit away.

I agree with you Allan. I only included that shot as it was the first TIME ever for me to photograph it and its for documentational purposes only. Thanks for replying.

Nice shots, indeed! Sounds like you had a great time. Thanks for sharing the story.

Indeed...twas a great morning. Thanks...
 
Joined
Jun 11, 2006
Messages
1,967
Location
Illinois
In my honest opinion these could only be better....if I were with you. PLEASE TAKE ME NEXT TIME:biggrin:because it wouldn't hurt me to sweat a few pounds off in the blind:tongue:
Well done there pal:smile:
 
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