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Robin Nesting Series


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#1 Art

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 07:13 PM

For the last four years, on and off, Robins have been nesting in our weeping Mulberry tree by the kitchen window. I am delighted that this year, we have a nest again. I banded the tree two years ago with a 2 foot piece of sheet metal to keep the cats and squirrels away when one year, some animal destroyed the nest. I am hoping that this year, I will get some stellar pictures of the birds. I have attached some initial shots to open the thread. I still have to prep the tree by cutting away branches so I can get some regular shots. Currently, it isn't that easy as the tree is thick with branches. I am hoping to get some interesting shots of the whole process from eggs, hatchlings to full grown birds. First picture is of the male bird. No shots yet of the female, but I will post one as soon as I snap a decent image. In the nest .... 4 nice bright blue eggs. Hope you enjoy this series as much as I am going to enjoy taking the photos.

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Edited by Art, 16 May 2011 - 02:03 PM.

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#2 Art

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Posted 15 May 2011 - 07:20 PM

I have added these two pictures because I find there nesting abilities fascinating. It is a perfect bowl and there is, what appears to be, mud mixed in with grass and other stuff, all perfectly shaped. Two different angles. I will take more later with a different lens when I make some room in the tree to get into it easier.

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#3 Waterfowler

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Posted 17 May 2011 - 08:07 PM

Good idea Art can't wait to see more pictures. I always want to get pictures of little ones in the nest but seems like all the nest are out of reach. We have one at the Gun club but its on top of a ceiling fan on the back porch.
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#4 Art

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Posted 18 May 2011 - 09:16 AM

Thanks Mark. This is an exciting little project for me. The only thing hampering me right now is the bad weather we are having. Non stop rain. I don't want to muck around with the tree until the weather is better. The female looks miserable enough dealing with the elements. My plan: I am going to cut away branches leaving me 1 foot holes in the foliage from two spots. From this I hope to get some close ups from the kitchen and some telephoto shots from the dining room which overlooks the tree from another angle. We shall see how it works out. Lighting may be an issue for the telephoto shot as the tree will soon fill up with foliage and it will cut off a lot of light. One thing about Robins, the eggs are an amazing blue colour. I have attached a couple more pictures just to give you a better idea of where the nest is in the tree, and my angle on it form the kitchen window. I can't quite reach out with my arm to get a better angle so, time to use the tripod and my remote shutter releaase!! :)

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Edited by Art, 18 May 2011 - 03:09 PM.

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#5 Art

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 09:13 AM

MAZEL TOV!

The Robins eggs hatched. Best I can tell, 3 of 4. One is still in the bottom, not sure if it is just a shell, or if the hatchling is on its way out.

What a thrill this morning to see them hatched! Here is the one shot I managed to take from the window sill. Almost fell out, D90 and all. This is an awkward spot and taking the picture isn't easy.

I want to try to get some feeding pictures, but haven't worked out the positioning yet. I did manage to carve out the branches from the kitchen window. Working on the angle from the dining room. I think this will be my best bet, even though it is farther away.

Enjoy! :D

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#6 Art

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 09:45 AM

Introducing.... Momma Robin....

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#7 Art

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 11:27 AM

One issue I thought I was going to have problems with is lighting! As the leaves on the tree continue to grow, I am working with less light. Depth of field is going to be an issue. I am going to have to figure out how to get lighting into the nesting area. Here are two more pictures for today.

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#8 Waterfowler

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Posted 25 May 2011 - 06:33 PM

Another good series!
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#9 Art

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 01:57 PM

Another good series!


Thank you, Mark. Today, the birds are a lot more lively than yesterday and the 4th bird hatched. You can just see his beak on the right, poking up. Tomorrow should be a show!

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#10 Art

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Posted 26 May 2011 - 02:14 PM

Here is a picture of the momma Robin watching me. Surprisingly, she is getting comfortable with me constantly learing at her! I am only 3 feet away from her. These shots are all taken with my 70-300, tripod mounted. I am having some technical grief with light. I am not at all happy with the depth of field and would like to increase the shutter from 1/60 to at least 125 but so far, no luck. I don't want to use a flash so maybe, I am going to have to jerry-rig some kind of reflector. The bottom picture is the shot below at 100%. If you look carefully, you can see 2 of the 3 panes of glass in my kitchen window. The middle one opens and it is the black bar in the middle. I am just inside the dark there looking out, but you can't see me! Hilarious!

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#11 Art

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 11:11 AM

My daily journal for today. Weather is awful again. Rain. So, light is a challenge yet again, only compounded. Today, I tried to use some spot lights, to no avail. If I put them close enough to be effective, the parents stayed away, obviously afraid of them. No lights, no depth of field. So, I tried some 300mm shots, one at the bottom was the best. Too bad, as I missed a great feeding shot as a result. I am not getting discouraged yet as I am sure I will hit a nice sunny day and get the shot I am looking for. The nice nest picture directly below is with my 105mm with flash. What a difference light makes! I had to bump my ISO to 1000 today.

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#12 Art

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Posted 27 May 2011 - 01:32 PM

Last picture today. I have commented on the nest in an earlier post, but I am still amazed by it. This is a clear shot of the whole thing, in good light and nice detail. I marvel at the birds nest building ability. Look at this nest! I have never really paid that much attention to birds nests. Typically, when they make them in your eves, they just cause a big mess and I have never truly looked at one in detail or with an appreciative eye. This is a marvel of engineering! It is perfectly round, bowl shaped, wedged well in the best spot on the Weeping Mulberry tree and even has a mud rim. All put together by a creature with no hands! Just amazing.

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#13 D50Michael

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 07:36 AM

Nice series, Art
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#14 Art

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Posted 28 May 2011 - 05:22 PM

Thank you, Michael, I am glad you are enjoying them. Here are a couple from this afternoon. Sun peaked through the clouds for a few minutes so I snapped off a few shots. I can hardly wait for a nice sunny day! Weather here in Toronto has been just awful.

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#15 Art

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Posted 29 May 2011 - 09:12 AM

Something new today. Introducing... Chippy. This chipmunk has a nest somewhere under the tree. The Robins love to chase this little critter all over the yard. It is still overcast today so I may not get a decent nest shot. Enjoy the Chipmunk. I am going to try to get a better picture of this guy when the weather improves. He sticks his head up through an opening in the plants behind him. I am going to set up the camera at ground level for a better shot. This is from the dining room window. 70-300mm @300 1/80 f5.6 ISO800

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#16 Art

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 08:27 AM

Monday morning photo. Slightly better light on what promises to be a very sunny day and the weather has improved. There is a fair amount of haze, but I am hoping to get a good shot today when the sun breaks through it. The Robins are getting much bigger, as you can tell. D90 105mm ISO 800 f4.5

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Edited by Art, 30 May 2011 - 09:01 AM.

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#17 Art

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Posted 30 May 2011 - 03:47 PM

Sun is out, the haze is gone and even the Robins looks like they are partying! This is my favourite picture in this series, so far! Taken with: D90 Tripod 70-300mm @ 145mm ISO 800 1/125s f8

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#18 Art

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Posted 31 May 2011 - 03:15 PM

Today's nest shot. Great light, nice depth of field.

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#19 Art

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 10:33 AM

I am amazed how fast these birds are growing. Todays shots in this series......

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#20 Dennis

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 11:49 AM

Nice series. Maybe you should add the image in post #18 to natgeo as well.

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#21 Art

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 01:32 PM

I was thinking exactly that. But, they got ONE from me. I think for now, that is enough. I really, REALLY dislike giving them something in Perpetuity. As much as I like the one I gave them, #18, I think, is a better picture. I think I will keep that for something else. As you and I have discussed before, I have a difficult time with their agreement. I also feel, due to the shear volume of stuff they get every week, you are simply "giving" them your stuff and it is a lot like a lottery. I have spent some time looking at their "editors choice" photos and sometimes, I think the people there are on drugs. Thanks for the compliment, much appreciated. The entertainment this has brought the family is substantial. We are all glued to the kitchen window to watch "the birds"! The nest is looking quite crowded right now.
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#22 Waterfowler

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Posted 02 June 2011 - 02:04 PM

Love them all Art! Thanks for sharing.
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#23 Art

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 11:06 AM

Thanks, Mark, I am glad you have enjoyed it. So, this is my final instalment of my Robin series! The birds have flown the coop!!! LOL What a pleasure it was photographing them from egg to flight. I missed the first bird leaving the nest but I caught the final 3. You have to get up early! LOL The left about 9:30 am this morning. Sort of, they flitted about the tree a bit and test their wings. Simply AMAZING experience. I just love nature. Enjoy the last few pictures. Note, you can see the wings of the baby robin on the far, far right edge of the photo, he just popped out!

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#24 Art

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Posted 07 June 2011 - 11:07 AM

The final shot is of one of the NEW birds getting ready to start its life. Truly amazing! :) It took from May 15 to June 7th. Farewell and good luck!

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Edited by Art, 07 June 2011 - 01:21 PM.

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