Wrens are very common in Santa Cruz County with the Bewick's being the most common and wide spread.  We also have the Marsh, House, and Pacific Wrens but they are common in the appropriate habitat.  So, when a Rock Wren showed up last weekend it was a big deal for the area birders.  This guy showed up on the UCSC campus in the Farm Project area near the Arboretum on Nov 7th and was working in and out of a rock pile in the farm's maintenance yard.  I'm finding that sharp focus is a challenge using high megapixel sensors.  The Nikon D800 36 Mpixel falls into this class.  Lately, I have been lowering the shutter speed at the expense of freezing motion so I can step down on the aperture.  Because it was sunny, I was able to shoot at 1/1000s using f/8.0 and still have a good ISO720.  The sun was low, since it was about an hour after sunrise, resulting in a very sharp clean photo of a very striking bird.

 
Photo of the Week 14: Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus) EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm with 1.7x TC    Taken: 11-09-14 7:32 Setting: 500mm, 1/1000s, f/8.0, ISO720    Condition: Sunny and low sun

Photo of the Week 14: Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)

EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm with 1.7x TC    Taken: 11-09-14 7:32

Setting: 500mm, 1/1000s, f/8.0, ISO720    Condition: Sunny and low sun

 

The Rock Wren has a least concern conservation status but in Santa Cruz County they are a rare occurrence.  Using the ebird (ebird.org) database, the first ebird sighting of a Rock Wren in the county was by David Suddjian in Feb-1995 in the Olive Springs Quarry area and he saw one in 2001, 2002, and 2005 in this area too.  Also in 1995,  David reported one along Hwy 1 just south of Greyhound Rock but there were no other sightings until David saw one at his home in Capitola in 2013.  This year, with the help of ebird and the Monterey Bay Birding Google group, one has been seen by many birders.  A Rock Wren was reported by 2 birders at Baldwin Creek on Oct. 28th and another was sighted at the UCSC Farm Project starting on Nov. 7th and has been seen by over 20 birders as of this posting.  It wouldn't surprise me that the Baldwin Creek bird is the same one as the UCSC bird since the UCSC is better Rock Wren habitat and only 4 miles SE of the Baldwin sighting.  It's exciting to find a rare bird even if it is only rare to your area.

500mm, 1/1000, f/8.0, ISO250

500mm, 1/1000, f/8.0, ISO250

500mm, 1/1000, f/8.0, ISO640

500mm, 1/1000, f/8.0, ISO640

500mm, 1/1000, f/8.0, ISO640

500mm, 1/1000, f/8.0, ISO640

Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other questions leave me a message.

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