The Summer Tanager we reported on Monday of this week remains in Washington Park, Pacific Grove in the immediate vicinity of the Bee Tree. On Tuesday, March 29th we again visited the Park about mid-day. It was a sunny day with temperatures in the high 50's - a pleasant day for watching the "Birds and the Bees". We were not disappointed!
We set up with a different lens and tripod combination to try to improve on the shots we got the day before. This time we used a Nikon 500mm f/4 G ED AF-S VR II lens, a 1.4x Teleconverter and again used the Nikon D7000 camera with a Wimberley WH-101 tripod head and a Gitzo tripod. It was a functional test for this combination as we were hoping to improve the quality of the shots as well as the out-of-focus background appearance.
The results follow.
We were successful in spotting the Summer Tanager quickly as he was changing perches frequently in the immediate vicinity of the Bee Tree. He was never more than one or two trees away and always up 30' to 40' near the tree tops - usually finding a roost in the dense upper pine branches.
The Bee Tree colony remained very active as shown below. It's interesting to note the bees in all kinds of orientations while flying outside their hive entrance. The camera set-up has nicely stopped the bees in flight.
We captured shots of the Summer Tanager at three different locations and include examples of each below showing the various colors of his plumage. First on a shaded branch -
Then nearby at another location with a bit more sun -
And, finally on a broken branch just below the hive entrance. While on this branch the Tanager was watching the bee activity around him. Here we see him in a particularly nice pose looking up towards the hive opening.
The two shots that follow show him watching nearby bees -
Finally, just a few seconds later, he caught a bee in mid-flight. A nice reward for him and for us as well. We were pleased with the performance of the Summer Tanager and the new camera set-up. We will continue our visits to the Park and will report on any future unusual sightings.