Sunday, April 11, 2010

Hunting a Marsh Wren

    I spent another afternoon out shooting birds today, and although there were few larger birds, I did get to see a Marsh Wren working on its' nest. These little birds are hard to see, let alone photograph due to their small size, and the speed they can move. Most of the time the Marsh Wren will stay in low brush, never to be seen, accept by those who are looking for them. You can easily find one, they have a distinctly high pitched call that can be heard from at least 100 meters away.

Marsh Wren
300mm F4 AF-S w/1.4x Tc, ISO800, 1/2000s @F6.3

    The Wren I was watching was in the process of building its' nest in some brush right along the bank of the inner marsh at the George C Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The nest itself was made of twigs, small bird feathers and cotton balls, which start to appear right around this time of year as the first wave of cotton blossoms finish blooming. What about photographing these little Wrens? That is the hard part! Over a period of two hours I got 20 usable shots, and of those only five or six that I wanted to work with.

    If you want to shoot these Marsh Wrens you are going to want to have a lens that is at least 300mm, more preferably. I was shooting my 300mm F4 AF-S, with 1.4x TC, and I was still a little too close for the birds' comfort, because it stayed down in the brush. When I moved away it would come up, but the bird hardly filled the frame and the shots would have been useless. I am hoping to go back on a day when there are fewer people around (weekends are always busy), so the bird wont be as weary of people being around. It will also be interesting to see if I can get any photos of baby Marsh Wrens in the weeks to come!