Lazuli Bunting

A lazuli bunting perches on a branch in the sun, singing, Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto, CA
A lazuli bunting perches on a branch in the sun, singing, Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto, CA. Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering 0 EV: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1

Last week I spent the evening in Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto in order to photograph Lazuli Buntings as they returned to the Bay Area for the summer. I hiked for a while through grassy hills spotted with oak trees, past wet marshy areas, and through dark oak woodland, still not seeing any of the buntings. I stopped and played their call on my iPhone. From every direction, dozens of voices answered my call. I then realized that I had been surrounded by buntings all day, I just had not recognized their bird song.

It was as though a veil had been lifted, and I started seeing them everywhere. As the sun started to drop to the west, I saw many buntings move to the treetops, hoping to sing out to the world in those last rays of the day.

A lazuli bunting perches on a branch in the sun, Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto, CA
A lazuli bunting perches on a branch in the sun, Arastradero Preserve, Palo Alto, CA. Canon 800mm f/5.6L IS lens with the EOS-7D. ISO 400. Evaluative metering 0 EV: 1/2000 sec. at f/7.1

By the end of the day, I had my target species in the bag, plus a few other surprises.