Beautiful birds photographed badly

Well, I saw a lot of cool birds, but did not get a lot of cool photos…these were some of my favourite terrible photos of beautiful birds!
Costa Rica
Black hooded antshrike (Thamnophilus bridgesi)
Costa Rica
Fiery billed aracari(Pteroglossus frantzii)
Costa Rica
Sooty thrush (or as I like to call it, a sooty turd) (Turdus nigrescens)
Costa Rica
Sooty capped bush tanager (Chlorospingus pileatus)

Ok so there’s a story behind this wood thrush (Hylocichla mustelina). Firstly, it’s probably the best photo I’ve even taken of a wood thrush (ironically), even though this is a super common bird back in the States (and a favourite). Secondly, it was taken in the middle of the night. I was on a night hike, looking for snakes and frogs and the like, and instead I found…a bird. Sleeping in a tree. *Shrug*
Blue crowned manakin (Lepidothrix coronata)
Crested Guan (Penelope purpurascens)
Sooty capped bush tanager (Chlorospingus pileatus)
Long tailed Silky Flycatcher (Ptiliogonys caudatus)
Hovering woodpecker
Hoffman’s Woodpecker (Melanerpes hoffmannii)
Tawny capped Euphonia (Euphonia anneae)
Spotted barbtail (Premnoplex brunnescens)
Can’t identify this one…can anyone help??
Tiger Heron (Tigrisoma mexicanum)
Gray-headed chachalaca (Ortalis cinereiceps)
Green honeycreeper (Chlorophanes spiza)
Red capped manakin (Ceratopipra mentalis)
Chestnut backed antbird
Black cheeked ant tanager (Habia atrimaxillaris)

Golden headed tanager (Tangara larvata)
Bay headed tanager (Tangara gyrola)
Hermit hummingbird
Red-legged honeycreeper (Cyanerpes cyaneus)
White necked jacobin (Florisuga mellivora)
Dot-winged antwren (Microrhopias quixensis)

Costa Rica
Squirrel Cuckoo!! (Piaya cayana) (This was SUCH a cool bird, and I squee’d and climbed under a fence and chased it through a paintball arena but I did not get a good photo for my efforts haha) Anyway, here are some links to awesome photos by OTHER people

Murray Sullivan


15 thoughts on “Beautiful birds photographed badly

  1. You got to see so many cool birds. Sounds like an awesome trip. I’m curious though about your camera settings. Do you shoot in auto or do you use manual settings. Over time I have found that shooting in shutter priority is best for birds. You can adjust the shutter speed quickly for lighting conditions. Then I put my white balance and ISO in auto so I don’t have to think about settings when I follow a bird from sun to shade.

    • I always shoot in full manual… it is definitely a challenge for the birds. But it’s a very low quality lens anyway, and it handles low light poorly! Maybe setting it to shutter priority would work better, but I usually don’t trust the auto settings on the camera. It means I miss some shots, but I also get better exposures on shots the camera would miss…ah I’m always learning and trying new things anyway!

  2. ‘Hovering woodpecker’ cracked me up! Great post. It’s not always about good photos, you know. It’s about ‘collecting’ a little birdie piece for your nature memories. I think they’re all wonderful. Thanks for sharing!

  3. you know from a non birder, Photographer stand point I actually like these photos a little better than the “good” ones, these are organic and have a great sense of movement as well as a great deal of context and interesting compositional elements. I guess it’s all in what attracts the eye. Plus I love your stories about getting there and especially the ones that got away, They seem to be some of the best stories! Btw the ones where the light caught thier eyes I found amazing! What beautiful eye shines they have! Keep up the great work!

  4. Pingback: A pack of peccaries (or a peck of packeries?) | standingoutinmyfield

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