The young House Wrens in our nest box start peeking out of the hole in expectation to be fed by their parents. I have seen at least two young birds but it sounds like there might be three or even four in the nest. You never know for sure but they make a lot of noise. The parents bring insects, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and spiders a lot more frequently than a week ago, a sure sign that the little guys will leave the nest shortly, possibly during the next two or three days. This is the second successful brood this summer for the wrens. We had more than just this one couple around here. The males are fierce competitors for nest holes and don’t like other birds near their chosen nest site. We found a destroyed and abandoned nest of the Northern Cardinals in a shrub between our two nest boxes earlier this summer, most likely the work of a House Wren.
This male with the spider in its bill gave me a few seconds before it flew to the nest. The sun was hidden most of the time but the clouds opened up suddenly for a brief moment and changed the light pattern. Adjusting the exposure compensation quickly for the ambient light was key for this photo. Because of the overcast I had the flash above the lens in order to bring out the colors. It also helped when the sun came out to lower the contrast by filling in the shadows, like on the chest of the bird. Flash compensation was set to -4 (-2 in camera, -2 at the flash light). This low amount delivers just the extra hint of light without creating a second shadow.
Nikon D750, Sigma 150-600mm / f5-6.3 DG OS HSM S, Induro GIT 404XL tripod, Induro GHB2 gimbal head, Nikon SB 800 speed light, MAGMOD MagBeam flash extender