A day in Palmer Park
On Saturday, I went walking in Palmer Park, as it’s only a few miles from my home, and has often surprised me with the numbers of birds and other critters there.
My day started off on the wrong foot, I overslept, and got to the park much later than what I would have liked to. Right off the bat I had one of those good news, bad news moments. I spotted a new to me species of bird, but had one heck of a time getting even fair photos of it. The only time it stopped moving was when it was behind branches, or in deep shade. To show you how tough this little bugger was to photograph, in two of my better photos of it, both of its feet are off the ground, so to speak.
A palm warbler is what it looks like to me, another species to add to my life list!
After the high energy warbler, this hermit thrush was a piece of cake.
As was this butterfly.
And, this white-breasted nuthatch was too busy looking for lunch to pay very much attention to me.
I found a few tree flowers, a field sparrow, and a chickadee.
Seeing the red maple flowers in front of an evergreen gave me an idea, I don’t know if it was a good one or not.
At several points up until this time I had thought about switching lenses to shoot a few of the sparse wildflowers I had seen, but each time the thought crossed my mind, I would be instantly surrounded by birds. Of course most of those times, the birds were very adroit at staying just out of camera range, or hidden in brush. I may be slow on the uptake, but I did eventually figure out that the birds were showing up only to distract me from the flowers.
Here’s an example, I spotted a small cluster of white violets and was about to change lenses, but then a pair of tufted titmouse arrived on the scene.
To make sure that my attention was focused on them rather than the violets, they began to pluck the leaf shoots of a maple tree off the tree to eat.
I have seen squirrels doing that, but never birds. Maple leaves must be very tasty!
One more of the titmouse.
But, this time I remembered the violets, and rather than chasing the birds any longer, I paused to switch lenses.
And, since I had the EF S 15-85 mm on the camera, I shot a wide view of the area of the park where I was standing.
A short time later, a young turkey tried to distract me from violet violets.
Having figured out that I was no longer going to allow the birds to distract me from shooting wildflowers, Mother Nature tried upping the cuteness factor of the distractions.
But, I wouldn’t allow myself to be distracted any more.
Not that the birds weren’t still at it.
Now comes the boring section of this post, a few of my ramblings.
First, I haven’t written a lot about the Canon EF S 15-85 mm lens yet, even though I’ve had it for a couple of weeks now. All the photos in my post about the flood in downtown Grand Rapids were taken with that lens, along with a few from today.
What a fantastic little lens! It is very sharp, and the color rendition, saturation, and contrast is the best of the three lenses I have. It’s designed for crop sensor cameras, so if you have one of the Canon crop sensor bodies and are looking for a wide-angle zoom lens, the 15-85 mm is superb! You owe it to yourself to at least consider this lens if you are thinking of a wide-angle zoom lens. Now I just have to learn how to use it more often.
It’s been so long since I’ve had a wide-angle lens that I have forgotten how to use them effectively, I can see that it is going to change now that I have an excellent one.
Since I haven’t had multiple lenses for a while, I also have to come up with a better way to carry my camera gear. For this walk, I had my daypack to hold essentials that I always carry with me, such as water, food, and extra clothing. It also carries my tripod very nicely. In addition, I had my medium size camera bag which held the 15-85 mm and 70-200 mm lenses while walking. I also had the case that came with the Sigma 150-500 mm lens to hold it while I had one of the other lenses on the camera. I was also wearing a safari vest from Cabela’s. Too much stuff!
To change lenses, I would have to find a safe spot to set the camera and Sigma lens down, set the camera cases down, then drop my pack. Then reverse the entire process when I would begin moving again. Too much hassle!
But, what do I do without? Just after starting out, I had to shed a shirt, as the weather was much warmer than predicted, and the daypack is essential for that, along with holding all the water I drank, plus my lunch.
Oh well, I’ll come up with something, no reason to bore people to death.
I found a few trout lilies in bloom, and I’m just going to dump the entire lot in here now, as some were taken with each of my three lenses, and I defy any one to pick which lens shot which photo. It is so nice having three quality lenses!
As good as the two shorter lenses are, they can’t beat the Sigma for birding though, the extra reach is indispensible!
I am going to end this one with a few photos of hyacinths that I found near the parking lot, just because I can!
If you live in the northern part of the country, you know what I mean when I say that it is so great to see colors again!
That’s it for a very pleasant day spent in the park. I’m going to load up my stuff and head to Aman Park today, to see if any trillium have begun to bloom, thanks for stopping by!