American Robin (Turdus migratorius) What does one do when there is high pressure sitting over the area, an inversion creating what some believe is crappy light and certainly nasty air quality, clouds, unseasonably warm temperatures, and a lack of birds? Practice! Five-hundred miles (Peter, Paul, & Mary should be playing through your head right now) traveled in the last couple of days, with nothing to show except some marginal photos of a Rough-legged Hawk and a Prairie Falcon. One can argue about wonderful light early in the morning and in the evening being more desirable. Some proclaim the current light is really crappy. And it might not be optimal, but the light when not the best creates challenges to overcome and provides opportunities — no harsh shadows, and in some cases more vibrants colors. After a time in the morning, the sun can become so bright that it can actually wash out the unique coloring of birds, and institute specular highlights where they usually are not wanted. Photographers who photograph flowers like cloudy days and muted light because of this very condition — more vibrant colors. So, what to do when things are not the best, make the best of the situation — shoot and practice at home in the yard. I was surprised at the willingness of birds to come so close and let me practice. In some instances, too close to focus on them within the minimum focusing limits of the lens I was using. Within 15 feet of my garage door, I was able to practice on a number of birds, including this sub-adult Robin who found delight in eating fruit from a non-fruit bearing (🤔), Flowering Pear tree. In addition to the Robin, I was joined by Chickadees, Goldfinches, Juncos, House Finches, Red-winged blackbirds, a Northern Flicker and a Downy Woodpecker, who was so close that I could only get its head in the viewfinder and was, consequently, too close to focus. More birds than I saw during recent travels and I only needed to walk a few steps.