The birds of San Miguel de Allende were a highlight of our trip in 2019. I had brought our big lens, a 500mmf4, and wandered the canal and the botanico with it. I ended up getting quite a few images that I very mcuh enjoyed.
This trip was more family focused and, thus, more of my time was spent in the streets. However, I had to hit the Jardin Botanicao El Charco del Ingenio a couple times to see what I could find.
The most prominant birds that I encountered had to be the Cactus Wren with the Curve Billed Thrasher being a close second. They kept me quite busy, I may have found a larger variety had I not been enjoying these two species so much. So it goes.
The birds in the botanico tend toward smaller species and they move about with the Cactus and other brush. This makes for some challenging shooting. However, the paths are multiple and it is quite enjoyable just wandering and seeing what pops up. With smaller birds like the Blue-gray Natcatcher it is a matter of getting a clear shot.
With the larger birds the challenge is more compositional. These birds tend to land on the tip of a Cactus leaving one with a shot of a bird against blue sky (not my favorite compostion). The trick is getting at eye level and having cactus, bushes or such for the background, something that is not always possible.
While I don’t care with a “bird on blue” image, I will work with them as I need to try and get something interesting. This Catus Wren, for example, coughed up a pellet that would not have been visible if he had a better background. So, not something I am likely to print, still an shot that brings me a smile.
A more pleasing shot has a more interesting background like this:
Most of my time in the garden was spent in among the Cactus. However, there are opportunities near the water for a variety of ducks and wading birds and even an occassional shorebird like this Spotted Sandpiper.
My favorite encounters in the garden this year were surprising. First, I was thrilled with get a shot of a Varied Bunting in all it’s glorious color. I don’t know that I have ever seen a more colorful bird.
Then there was a fabulous bit of fun with a common House Finch feeding on a cactus.
What seemed to be missing on this trip were the Flycatchers and Kingbirds. In 2019 I was able to get several images of Cassin’s Kingbirds and Vermillion Flycatchers. This trip I did observe Cassin’s Kingbirds but only at great distance (I also encountered a Gray Silky-flycatcher that was not photographable. So it goes.) and only managed 2 images of Vermillion Flycatcher and onne Says Phoebe. Perhaps we need to come try again. 🙂
Some thoughts on gear:
In 2019 I brought my Canon 5D mkIII and our 500f4 with a 1.4x extender for my bird chasing lens. As a backup, I had a 100-400 in my pack. I wandered about town working the waterway and then in the Jardin always carrying the big beast. In the garden it felt somewhat ok but in town I felt very much on display and out of place. Still, if I wanted the image, its what I had to do.
On this trip, having switched to Olympus a year prior and then obtaing an OM1 just before our trip, my gear was physically much smaller. While walking at El Charco I had the OM1 with a 300mmf4 and a 1.4x extender. In my fanny pack, for backup, was the 40-150mm. This setup looks much more like an average telephoto and I felt quite normal walking around with it. I still had a couple of people comment that it looked like a nice camera but the staring and disbelief at the massive gear was gone.
Until next time, Happy Shooting!