I just bought a used camera from one of the Leica guys, a Nikon Coolpix 4500. I bought it for digiscoping and because it's supposed to have an incredible macro feature. I tried it out banding at Carpenter Nature Center today and was VERY pleased with my close ups.

It was a cardinal bonanza today in all the traps, much to the chagrin of the banders' fingers. Those bills are so perfect for ripping open sunflower husks are quite capable of slicing flesh.

We trapped and banded the above male cardinal on September 15, 2006. Note, he was going through that gawky stage transitioning from brown juvenile plumage into is adult male red plumage. Look at all those pin feathers--aka bird acne. He even has a sad little stubby crest. Hmm, this is taking me back to my seventh grade school photo. Shutter.

Here is the same bird retrapped today! What a difference four months make! He looks like he's thinking, "I can't believe how good I look!"

Just take a moment and soak that bird in. Breathe in. Breathe out. Ahhhhhhhhh.

Good night, how red do you need to be? Interesting to note, this bird had a birthday on January 1, 2007. Even though he was probably about two or three months when we first banded him, according to banding rules all wild birds turn a year older the first of the year. He is now an official second year bird--even though it has been less than a year since he hatched. I don't make the banding lab rules, I just follow them.

I'm really digging the macro feature of this Nikon Camera--it really picks up great feather detail. I could just get lost in this female cardinal's patchwork of reds and tans.

Here she is head on. I'm fascinated by the area where all the feather connect with her bill. Such a combination of heard, bright, and shiny contrasted with soft, gray, brown, red, subtle. I just want to run my finger right along that line...I can't because of the whole biting issue, but still...

Well, can't wait to see further results with this camera and future banding sessions.

Of course the fun part of purchasing used cameras is that sometimes not all the old photos are deleted. I found this photo:

It's Pete Dunne and it looks like he's visiting Panama's Canopy Tower. I wonder if he got in?