A Twice-anomalous Loggerhead Shrike

There are two interesting things about this Loggerhead Shrike that I thought were worth a closer look.


loggerhead shrike 2983a ron dudley

1/3200, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

The first is obvious – a broken wing flight feather.  I noticed this bird on two different mornings last week on Antelope Island.  It’s one thing to completely lose a major feather (as in during the molt) but I imagine it’s quite another to have one broken and flopping around like this.  It must be aggravating and cumbersome to the extreme during flight but this bird seems to be coping with its handicap just fine.  I suspect that the feather will break off soon (if it hasn’t already) but these adults don’t begin molting until mid-summer so it’ll be without one of its fully functional flight feathers for a long time.

Another somewhat unusual feature of this image is the double catch-light.  This happens fairly often with disturbed water (waves) in the foreground because of all the reflections it produces but in this case the only water was behind the bird so I don’t know the cause.  The primary catch-light was from the early morning sun but the other may have been caused by almost anything, including a reflection off the bumper or windshield of my pickup.

Sometimes double catch-lights don’t bother me, particularly if they look natural but in this case (to my eye) it doesn’t and I also find it distracting so…



loggerhead shrike 2983b ron dudley

if I were ever to print the image (I likely won’t) I always have the option to remove it as I’ve done here.

Obviously this isn’t a great image but I thought it was interesting nonetheless.




Displaying Female Brewer’s Blackbird (and an update on recent Feathered Photography problems)

I almost never see Brewer’s Blackbird images posted anywhere so today I thought I’d give the species its due.


brewer's blackbird 4049

 1/1250, f/6.3, ISO 640, Canon 7D, CanonEF500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

I found this female Brewer’s Blackbird at sunup this morning on the causeway to Antelope Island.  Her mate was perched on a post just a few feet away.   The two of them were performing what’s called the “Song-spread Display” for each other.  This frequent and conspicuous display is part of the preliminary stages of pair formation and it’s performed by both sexes.  The male also performs the display to guard the female from being approached by other males.  At the time I took this photo there were three other males showing intense interest in the female.

This image and trip to the island were part of my therapy this morning.   I needed it.  As I’m sure many of you know my blog was down for about 20 hours beginning yesterday afternoon.  It seems our server had a firmware malfunction.  Problems like this were a common occurrence when we were using Network Solutions (now there’s a misnomer of a name!) but since we’ve been using Bluehost issues like this have been much reduced.  But this one was a doozy – 20 hours!  Geez…

So when I got up this morning and my blog and one of my email accounts still weren’t working I just had to get away for some bird photography and focus my mind (and my lens) on different things.  Thankfully the issue was resolved while I was out there so as soon as I got home I quickly grabbed this image from today’s shots for your perusal.

My apologies for the blog hiccup!