Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Birds of Spring

If there is one family of birds that defines spring for me, it has to be the Wood-Warblers.  These brightly-colored (mostly) sweetly-singing (usually) little gems that migrate back here from warmer climes as winter releases is icy grasp on us (usually, seems the last year or so it has been rather reluctant to let go), are often what gets birder's hearts pumping.  We look and listen for those regulars like old friends, as well as hope for that rare or uncommon one to cross our paths.  I am also spending a bit more time trying to improve my photography, and although nowhere near the level of some of the pros out there, I like to think that I am getting a bit better.  Honestly, I would rather make a good photo of a more common bird than go chasing a rarity and come up with a bad one.  Some folks might think that I am less of a birder because of it, but I beg to differ.  This in fact, forces me to slow down a bit and spend more time watching and studying a bird - to learn its behaviors and patterns a bit more so that I am prepared to take the photo when the opportunity is right, rather than just blasting away when something crosses my path (yes I still do that too) and then running to find the next bird.  One down side to this is that I seem to have less of a variety of species that I have photographed this year (or at least that I am happy with). Nevertheless, Spring migration is a great time for photography, as there is a great variety of subjects, not to mention some beautiful settings if you can force yourself to widen your view beyond just the bird.  Here are a few photos that I am relatively happy with from the last few weeks.  Is there room for improvement? Hell yes! But I am continually learning and hope that you'll keep on checking back in occasionally to see how I'm doing.

Nashville Warbler - Vermivora ruficapilla

Black-Throated Green Warbler - Dendroica virens

Magnolia Warbler - Dendroica magnolia

Black-and-White Warbler - Mniotilta varia

Northern Parula - Parula americana

Prairie Warbler - Dendroica discolor

 Chestnut-sided Warbler - Dendroica pensylvanica

And although not a warbler, this Rose-breasted Grosbeak definitely deserves his place among the colorful migrant songbirds.  I had the great fortune of watching this male attend a female while she was collecting nesting material (and driving away another rather persistent male who was trying to get in on his action)
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - Pheucticus lodovicianus

PS - as always click on the photos to see larger versions!

And to see some great bird photos from around the world, check out: