On a recent hike I decided to try to concentrate on one bird, if I could, and observe it for a period of time. The warblers move fast and take off into the cover of bushes or trees at the least sign of unusual movement or shadows, a good defense mechanism for the small birds.
I saw a Pine Warbler in a tree, checking for insect life hiding in the Spanish moss. I took a photograph, and it flew almost immediately. I stood still, then moved a little and stopped again until I spotted the bird up on a branch.
I watched as it looked up at the trunk of the tree, tilting its head back and forth, and then took off after something, dropped back, and flew off. It happened fast, and though I managed a few shots it wasn’t until I got them home and on the computer that I could really study them.
A painter we know who also birds and takes photographs once called his camera and long lens (Canon 100mm – 400mm, the one I use the most for wildlife) his best birding tool along with the binoculars. I agree, I carry binoculars for birding but keep the camera close. When we worked on a long term citizen science based birding project for a research team, the photograph, fuzzy and poorly composed thought it might be, often provided confirmation of some birds, and proof when we saw the occasional rare bird.
In this case it gives me a close-up view of an actual bird in the wild. I often notice details not mentioned in guides. The field guides choose the best example they can find of a species for their books. As with humans, the average bird often varies from that perfection.