This little bird is about 5.75" long with a wing span of 10" and only weighs .63oz (18g), but like warblers they are constantly moving in search of insects. I first saw this bird on Dec 31, 2011 a few days after it showed up at the Santa Cruz Courthouse, which is located along the San Lorenzo River. It would take until Dec-2013 until I was able to photograph the guy. I was searching around the courthouse getting some nice photos of a Hermit Warbler when the Plumbeous Vireo flew into the pine I was standing next to. I brought my camera up but I couldn't focus; he was so close I had to take a couple steps back. What a treat. I had my D800 and 300mm lens equipped with a 1.7x teleconverter for an equivalent 500mm focal length. The bird was working its way through the pines around the courthouse so it went in and out of various levels of shade. I had my shutter speed set to 1/640s with an aperture of f/4.8 for a little more depth of field so that left the adjusting to ISO1400, which completed the exposure setting. I really like this pose, which captures the birds ability to position itself in a variety of orientations.
I have been slowly eliminating the use of the TC and I'm finding that with the D800's 36Mpixel sensor I can crop into a 500mm equivalent focal length, thus taking advantage of the fast f/2.8 in order to bring down the ISO with very good results. This can been seen in the 2 photos below where the one on the left I used the 1.7x TC with the minimum f/4.8 resulting in having to use a slower shutter speed and higher ISO compared the the one I took last week. Granted the lighting situation had to be different but the lighting was fairly similar with both days being sunny and the bird bebopping in and out of the shady pines.
The Plumbeous Vireo is a western bird that summers east of the Sierras and out as far as Colorado down into New Mexico. Assuming it is the same bird; it showed up late Dec-2011 and has returned since for now the 4th winter. It winters in Mexico and south but may be found in southern Arizona. It is rare on the West Coast and here in Santa Cruz County it has been a favorite visitor to observe, although at times frustrating to find.
Your comments are welcomed and if you have any questions about the photo or any other questions leave me a message.