For me, the true sign of fall in Santa Cruz is the return of the sparrows.  There are other species that winter in California, but for me it is when the Fox and Golden-crowned sparrows return to my home that I look forward to in the fall.  Although the White-crowned Sparrows have returned to my yard I have yet to see the Fox and Golden; however, I have seen them in other parts of the county.  The photo below of the Golden-crown is a good example of being ready.  When I get out of my car, the first thing I do is set the exposure on my camera.  This morning we were at Antonelli Pond on the west side of Santa Cruz we came upon a small flock of Golden-crowns and then one popped out of a bush right in front of me.  It took up this interesting pose and I was able to take over 10 shots as the guy turned and looked around all the time having his tail up in the air.  This was the second shot in the series and I have found that usually the first shot is slightly out of focus as the auto focus hunts for the focus point.  This is a good reason to shoot in burst or continuous mode when trying to capture nature in motion, especially birds.

 
Photo of the Week 12: Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm with 1.7x TC    Taken: 9-28-14 11:38 Setting: 500mm, 1/640s, f/4.8, ISO320    Condition: Clouds and fog

Photo of the Week 12: Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla)

EQ: D800 f/2.8 300mm with 1.7x TC    Taken: 9-28-14 11:38

Setting: 500mm, 1/640s, f/4.8, ISO320    Condition: Clouds and fog

 

In Santa Cruz, there have been 26 sparrow species recorded in the county with most being rare migrants.  The Song, White-Crowned, and Savannah Sparrows can be found all year long but in the summer you have to know where to find them.  As fall approaches the number places you can find White-crowned and Savannah increases and they are soon joined by our winter visitors of the Golden-crowned, Fox, Lincoln's, White-throated, and Swamp Sparrows and the cycle beings again.

White-crowned Sparrow, immature (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 500mm, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO400 9-19-14 10:46 Sunny

White-crowned Sparrow, immature (Zonotrichia leucophrys)

500mm, 1/1600, f/5.6, ISO400

9-19-14 10:46 Sunny

Fox Sparrow, Sooty (Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis) 500mm, 1/500, f/4.8, ISO1000 3-29-14 14:18 Foggy

Fox Sparrow, Sooty (Passerella iliaca unalaschcensis)

500mm, 1/500, f/4.8, ISO1000

3-29-14 14:18 Foggy

Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis)

500mm, 1/800, f/6.3, ISO250

1-4-14 11:27 Sunny

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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