Even though I prefer birds in flight, I couldn’t pass up catching my first time getting an image of a Phainopepla. This is out at Joshua Tree National Park, in the morning bright sun. Their blood-red eyes are crazy. The orange background is from reddish/rust color boulders.

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Technical Details

f/5.6, 320 seconds, 500mm, ISO 100

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A truly wonderful find here, Mark. And yes, the red eye is intense. The background boulders provide a natures-studio light box. I have seen those intense rock formation glows many times out at J-tree over the years. … :+1:

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@Paul_Breitkreuz , thanks very much! I’m glad you like it out there too.

Take it however you can get it. I’ve never seen this bird before so I’m glad you shared. In shape and general appearance it reminds me of a towhee. The sidelight did a great job picking out details and texture even if it is a bit harsh. The soft peachy background is certainly different. And what an odd perch, too. Quite eye-catching overall.

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Hi @Kris_Smith, yup, this unexpected sighting really added to an already fun overnight trip. I think he was perched on a Joshua Tree, with a busted up seed pod, but I can’t recall for sure. It was about 20 feet up, and maybe 50 feet away from me off the road, very content to let me take its picture.

Fantastic image, with these BG-colors. The birds eye perfectly match them. Nice one ! Best, Hans

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The light’s a bit harsh, but this bird against that awesome background still makes the image work very well, Mark.

Hi Mark
You now have natures perfect color tree. There is some clipping on the breast, but that is miner. The overall coloring just make the Phainopepla pop. Thank you for showing us this bird.

@Hans_Overduin , @Dennis_Plank and @peter - Thank you for taking a look and giving some feedback. Yes, the mid-morning lighting was harsh on its breast, even though I tried to tone it down. These are such interesting birds, and I was glad to catch it with background colors (and perch) sort of matching its colorful eye. Thanks again.