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As one barn swallow chick munches a mayfly, its siblings hungrily wait their turns as mom approaches. Photo taken near the Willamette River in Oregon, August 2008.
dramatic action, family, flight, nature, oregon, small birds, swallows
A terrific capture- !!!
EXCELLENT photo Ken! that expression of the back bird is just classicly sibling!
Gracias, Carlita. That whole episode was an amazing encounter, which I stumbled upon during a lunch hour photo session. I never saw the mom and kids together like that again, though a couple days later in the same area I saw and heard the little ones flying around the stream gleefully, able to catch their own bugs. They were too fast for me to get a shot of them. Maybe I’ll see them next spring and summer. It was a blessing, all I can say.
– Kenneth Haley
a wonderful action shot , great colours and detail
I’m honestly completely in LOVE with this image. I have watched barn swallows for years…down in TN they seemed to never have a nest with less then 6! The colors u caught and the patterns…and those EYES of the eating one as well as the expression of the waiting 2…just…>sigh<…lucky you!
What a wonderful shot, catching so much action. It’s like they are showing off for you.
It must have been Awesome to have been able to experience this sight, and to photograph it too! Lovely!!
It was like a gift, truly, Carolyn. As I approached the scene I took some shots that were not nearly as dramatic as the ones I have posted, though even those would have excited me normally. As I got closer and saw what was happening, I kept praying under my breath that they wouldn’t be spooked. The mother made about five passes with the mayflies, and I shot rapidly as soon as the little ones opened their beaks in anticipation. Each feeding pass lasted about 10 seconds, if that. I tried to focus on the center of the action each time, though I realized that with my 300mm lens plus 1.4 teleconverter I had a narrow focal range. I changed positions once to get a different angle and took off the teleconverter, which widened the focal range a bit. The lighting was diffused, a thin overcast, which helped a lot, and the backdrop was the stream, providing a solid yet smooth background for contrast. During the moments when mom was hunting, I took shots of the fledglings jockeying for position on the little branch. In the span of maybe 5 minutes I took over 200 shots, of which most are usable, though I only polished about 40. Finally the little ones got nervous with my presence and they flew off, and I got one last shot of mom flying low over the water, now tiny in comparison to these close-ups. As I walked back to the car to return to work (this was a lunch-hour excursion), my camera suddenly quadrupled in value because of the treasures I knew were on the memory card. No other way to describe it, the experience was a gift.
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