Aliso and Wood Canyons Regional Park in Laguna Niguel, California is a wonderful place to go in the spring to see summer resident breeding birds. The habitat is a combination of coastal sage scrub with willow and cottonwood riparian areas along the creek that runs down the center of the canyon. Late March and early April is the perfect time to see and hear Greater Roadrunner, Least Bell’s Vireo, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, and Black-headed Grosbeak. Knowing this, I headed there one morning to try digiscoping with my micro 4/3 format camera through the Swarovski ATX Modular Eyepiece with the Swarovski 85mm Modular Objective. The Chats weren’t in yet, and the only Blue Grosbeak I encountered was high in a willow against bright marine layer clouds – a difficult background to work with.
As luck would have it, this Black-headed Grosbeak Pheucticus melanocephalus was posted up and singing with foliage in the background. The bird was so vivid and singing so beautifully that I immediately decided that video was called for. Mounting the camera to the scope was effortless, thanks to the Swarovski TLS-APO adapter, and I was rolling seconds after I had focused on the Grosbeak with the scope.
The pale gray downy feathers are part of the Grosbeak’s insulation system and the chill from the previous night had not yet left the air.