Saturday marked the 1st weekend in the Biggest Week of Birding. I was anxious to get down to Magee Marsh since yesterday was witness to a 'spectacular' day of birding for those fortunate enough to be there. Highlight birds included Barn Owl and Cerulean Warblers. The word 'fallout' made not being there all the more difficult...
I got there just after 7 am the place was already crawling with cars and birders. Cameras were lining up along the parking lot while birders (bird watrchers?) packed the boardwalk. I was greeted immediately by the 'Sweet-Sweet-Sweet' call of a Prothonotary Warbler calling from the trees next to the tower. Nashville Warblers, Northern Waterthrush, Black-throated Green Warblers, American Redstarts and Black-throated Blue Warblers were calling from all directions.
Unfortunately for me (as a photographer) the day would be marked by a great many birds, but birds feeding higher in the canopy than I cared for. Binocular birding was excellent, as excellent views were had by all. But birds were far enough away to require some heavy cropping of images. But birds were plentiful, and diversity was good, so it was a great day all around.
I managed to capture some nice views of a Gray-cheeked Thrush feeding on the forest floor, while nearby Wood Thrushes were singing their flute-like song.
One of the Virginia Rails ran out from under the boardwalk and I managed get some obscured looks through the cattails. Overhead Yellow Warblers were belting out their "Sweet-sweet-sweet-little-more-sweet" song. Myrtle and Palm Warblers were everywhere, and made finding the 'rarer' warblers harder to find. But I managed to get some nice captures of a lovely Cape May Warbler as it fed high overhead. A Northern Parula made a brief appearance just shortly afterward. It was nice to run into Dan Gertiser and talk w/ him for a few minutes. A pretty Black-and-White Warbler also stopped by for a visit.
And even though they are described as drab little birds, who doesn't love the song of summer coming from a Warbling Vireo. So difficult to find in the canopy once the leaves come out, its always a pleasure to get nice views of them when they do appear. I was lucky to watch a pair of Warbling Vireos frolick in the trees just a few feet away.
My best captures of the day came from a preening male Prothonotary Warbler, who was so cooperative I could shoot with and without the flash unit.
A walk along the perimeter of the woodlot brought nice views of a Lincoln's Sparrow on the ground a few feet away, while a nice male Canada Warbler perched higher up in the trees.I ran into Josh Haas, who was leading a bird/photography outing, and got the chance watch foraging Cape May Warblers, Northern Parulas, Yellow Warblers and a gorgeous Blackburnian Warbler. Too bad they all refused to come down lower.
A Yellow Warbler was much more cooperative along the east end of the boardwalk, followed by a slightly less cooperative Nashville Warbler. A pretty male Black-throated Green Warbler approached within inches of the camera lens, and I had to move backward to photograph it.
A number of photographers passed me in a hurry as a Black-billed Cuckoo had been spotted up ahead. The bird was roosting right over the boardwalk and provided slightly-obscured, but close views from below.
Another Blackburnian Warbler came close enough to get great looks with the bins, and was followed by yet another Cape May Warbler. A Black-throated Blue was feeding a few feet away, but refused to provide a clear photograph. Luckily for me a Magnolia Warbler finally appeared and was a bit more cooperative.
Another Gray-cheeked Thrush made a brief appearance, and provided a nice portrait. So did a Gray Catbird. Try as I might I could not find a huddling American Woodcock just a few feet from the boardwalk, so I worked my way through the crowd and headed for home.