Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Black and White Warbler

Well, the summer birds are coming in all across the island and in good numbers. The warblers are my bird-of-the-moment. It is amazing how many there are and how striking they look. With this onslaught, I have added several types of warblers and some new sparrows to my list. The list? Well, I have now spotted and photographed 94 species since January 1, 2010.

That may sound like a lot of work but it is anything but work. It is so nice to be outdoors and in the natural environment that birds frequent. I have seen moose, rabbits, squirrels, beavers, otters and of course, lots of birds.

Today, I decided to share my new pictures of the Black and White Warbler. I found this guy at Kent Pond yesterday afternoon and it was still there today. If anyone is interested in checking this out, this bird was located in the trail that runs by the brook toward the Howley Building. Along with him, I found a Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blackpoll Warbler and a Wilson's Warbler. On the South side of the pond, I found a very bright Yellow Warbler.  This morning, I also found a Spotted Sandpiper on the South side of the pond near the wharf. Overhead, there were three Tree Swallows sailing about. They are a challenge to photograph!

Actually, every season, every weather condition and every bird brings with it a set of challenges. These shots were taken in a very shaded area with slim beams of sunlight finding their way through the thick cover of the evergreens. It takes patience to wait for the sun to shine (that's a big one!) and for the bird to then, move into the ray of light and strike a pose. Lighting is probably one of the greatest challenges of bird photography. It is one thing to find the bird and get into position but it is something entirely different to get the light in the right direction and degree.

All of these factors and the thrill of finding a new bird is what keeps this pastime fresh. Every time I go out, it is new and different.  The experience gets richer as I learn more and more.

The Black and White Warbler feeds on the bark of the tree and works its way up and down and all around the branches. It turns itself upside-down and then spins back on top of the branch. This images shows him in one of those odd positions but he remained ever-vigilant to keep an eye on me at all times.

The Black and White is among the earliest warblers to return to the province in the Spring and they are very handsome.  They use the long narrow beak to pick at insects deep within the bark of the trees.

The color of this bird provides great camouflage with the tree bark. If looking for the bird, as with all birds, listen and follow the sounds of the bird. When you are as close as possible, pause and watch for any movement around the leaves, branches or the tree trunk. There is a very good chance that you, too, will find one of the fresh Spring warblers.

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