Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Yellow Warbler

Yellow Warblers are back in town, everywhere. Where there were no birds, now there are many birds! Even without looking, it is easy to come upon a Yellow Warbler.

I have seen them at Long Pond, Kent Pond, Mundy Pond, Cochrane Pond Road, Forest Pond, and CBS. They are bright and colorful! It is quite likely with all of the leaves filling out in the trees that you may hear this little bird's song before you see it.

Often when a bird sings, it will puff up its feathers, particularly on the top of its head. From my experience, a singing bird also quivers a little. This means that as a photographer, I must be particularly steady so as not to blur the image too much.

A singing bird is a happy bird and may sit in the same place for quite some time, warbling away.

The Yellow Warbler feeds on insects and often nests in Willow trees.

The Yellow Warbler has a bright yellow breast and head. The male of the species has reddish-brown streaking on its breast. The eye is dark and is surrounded by a pale yellow eye ring. The beak is small and narrow. This is ideal for catching insects. The back, wing and tail feathers are darker and appear to be more of an olive color. The female has a duller yellow body and its back feathers are a darker olive color.
The first three images were taken at Kent Pond in bright day light. The next two images were taken at Mundy Pond in the "Golden Hour." This is a term in photography that refers to the early morning or late even hours, one hour after sunrise or one hour before sunset, approximately. These are really the best times of the day to shoot pictures.
The last image of this posting illustrates how easily a Yellow Warbler can blend into the background of newly budding trees. The other reason I posted this image is to illustrate how background can make or break a picture. This busy background takes away from the impact of this little bird. It is really not within our ability to dictate which tree the bird should sit, but a good picture requires the photographer to be patient and wait for the bird to move to a more favorable location. This busy image is fine for a record shot but not much else.

 This little Yellow Warbler is quite different from the flashy, singing warblers posted above. This little guy is a winter Yellow Warbler and to complicate matters for him, he missed migration.
 I photographed this little bird in the underbrush at Kelly's Brook. It is staying under cover and in thick brush. This behaviour is totally different from the many Spring and Summer Yellow Warblers observed all summer long.  One birder reported that this particular bard is being aggressive with a Wilson's Warbler and Kentucky Warbler who also missed migration. In fact, the Kentucky Warbler is a rare bird at any time in Newfoundland.
 Last year a Yellow-rumped Warbler wintered in this same location. I wonder what it is that draws in different birds in such obscure locations. It is a mystery, for sure.
I have been to Kelly's Brook on many occasions to try to photograph the Kentucky Warbler. While I have seen it, I have been unable to record the sighting with a picture. It hasn't been seen in this location for several days now. I was disappointed not to see the Kentucky but I was very happy to get a good look at this Winter Yellow Warbler.

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