In Search of a 5-Star Rated Vermillion Flycatcher Photograph – Reflections of the Pure World

After seeing a number of latest glorious images of the returning Vermillion Flycatcher by Doug Krajnovich at Lake Yosemite County Park In Merced County, CA., I made a decision I should attempt to observe it down and shoot it. Digitally that’s!


Lake Yosemite is a freshwater reservoir inbuilt 1888 for irrigation functions and is presently owned and operated by the Merced Irrigation District. It’s situated about 5 miles east of Merced, CA.

Lake Yosemite Park Entrance
Lake Yosemite


Doug Krajnovich first found a primary fall male Vermillion Flycatcher on 10/10/2019 on the south finish of the park alongside the Fairfield Canal. Typically, they’re uncommon throughout the Central Valley, however they appear to be occurring extra incessantly in Merced County over the previous 20 years. At one level final 12 months within the winter of 2020/2021 as much as 3 had been seen on the identical time at Lake Yosemite County Park.

Vermillion Flycatcher on the Merced NWR 1/17/2021


Once I first began images, capturing pictures typically got here at a steep value and as a newbie I discovered myself in a quandary. Did I exploit Ektachrome 100, Kodachrome 64, or Fujichrome Velvia 50 when within the subject? It was costly to purchase after which develop. And the worst half was not realizing when you nailed the shot or not till you bought them again a number of days later. With the appearance of extra moderately priced tools and an virtually limitless variety of pictures that may be captured on one SD Card, I typically take upwards of 500 pictures in a morning’s outing. The problem then turns into one in all which picture is the most effective.


As a birder turned photographer, I attempt to each seize a picture that may serve to doc a chook sighting and to fulfill my creative expectations of a top quality replica. This usually entails taking the primary picture at a distance and steadily getting nearer and capturing increasingly pictures.

eBird Scores

eBird is a web based database of chook observations offering scientists, neighborhood scientists, researchers and newbie naturalists with real-time information about chook distribution and abundance. Right now, the overwhelming majority of birders report their location sightings utilizing eBird. Together with recording numbers of every species encountered, customers can submit pictures, audio recordings and video snippets to assist doc what they discovered. Every picture {that a} consumer submits might be rated to assist with the better neighborhood science wants. In keeping with their web site, “Scores improve the utility of Macaulay Library media for everybody, enabling the most effective pictures, audio, and video to be found and utilized in tasks akin to Merlin and Birds of the World, in addition to Illustrated Checklists and exterior analysis functions.

From my perspective, getting a great picture has helped me to both cinch or reject the identification of a difficult or uncommon chook species.

They use a 5-star score system, with 5 stars being the very best high quality. They particularly state that the rankings needs to be strictly technical in nature and never to soak up account the uncommon standing of a species. An incredible picture of a standard, drab chook ought to nonetheless be 5 stars and a poor picture of a really uncommon or hard-to-photograph chook may nonetheless be only one or 2 stars.

Drab, frequent 5-Star Northern Mockingbird

Key Factors to Contemplate When Ranking a {Photograph} for eBird

From the eBird Help Web site “The best way to Price Media

Sharpness: Is the first topic in focus? Is the picture blurred or grainy?
Visibility of chook: How effectively are you able to see the chook? If the chook may be very small, partially obstructed from view, or backlit within the picture, the score needs to be decrease than it will be in any other case.
Measurement of picture: Decrease your score of any picture that has a noticeably small decision. Importing full decision information is at all times inspired.

Descriptions of star rankings for images: (Keep in mind the score is a technical score and does NOT have in mind the rarity of the chook.)
1 Star: Very poor high quality. Very low decision or very poor focus; chook could also be very small or obscured within the body or have extraordinarily dangerous publicity. Generally ought to solely be uploaded as report photographs, if nonetheless identifiable.
2 Stars: Poor high quality. May very well be a great picture however at a noticeably low decision, or excessive decision however with important flaws. Lighting could be severely backlit or poorly uncovered. Picture could be good however the chook is extraordinarily small within the body or largely obscured.
3 Stars: Respectable high quality. Excessive or medium decision with respectable focus. Lighting could be lower than ultimate; chook could be smaller in body or considerably obscured. May need a number of elements that forestall it from being rated larger.
4 Stars: Superb high quality. Excessive decision and in good focus, not less than respectable lighting, and chook moderately massive in body. One or two of those elements could also be lower than ultimate and forestall from attaining 5 stars.
5 Stars: Glorious high quality. Excessive decision and in sharp focus. Lighting needs to be good and the chook not less than pretty massive within the body and never considerably obscured.


After downing my morning latte, taking the canine out to make use of the entrance garden and double-checking that I really had a charged battery this time… I used to be off to the park. I made a short circle round to the again of the park after which parked close to the doorway. I quickly recognizing the well-known, aforementioned Doug Krajnovich peering intently right into a tree not removed from the Fairfield Canal. We exchanged salutations and he promptly knowledgeable me that he had not but discovered the goal chook, however he was stuffed with optimism that we might discover it will definitely. We break up up a bit and I went east and he west. I took images of a California Scrub-Jay, an Osprey and a Black Phoebe whereas I labored my manner again in direction of Doug.

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