After passing the 3 Cattle Egrets just before the entrance to Ottawa NWR I arrived at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory shortly after 7 am. The boardwalk was empty, and only 1 car was in the lot (and he was reading the paper). I cracked the window and listened to the chorus of birds coming from the west end of the boardwalk, so I decided to get wet and walk around. I left the camera in the car so it wouldn't get soaked and just took the binoculars.
I made a complete loop of the boardwalk. Along the east loop I spotted a stunning Yellow-breasted Chat perched on one of the downed willows just feet from the boardwalk. Ten feet away was a lovely (but soaked) male Prothonotary Warbler. No camera ('nuff said). Then the rain let up.
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, beautiful looks at a Tennessee Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Gray Catbird, and House Wrens. I had hoped to find the Virginia Rails and Sora seen earlier in the week, but found only Yellow Warblers, Swamp Sparrows, and a female Rufous-sided Towhee.
appeared overhead and proceeded to forage within 2 feet of the railing!
images of the stunning male as it hopped, foraged, and paused to belt out its song. I was able to get several sharp images to go along w/ the dozens of soft, out-of-focus images due to the camera focusing on nearby branches or leaves. But I was happy!
I returned to the car to grab a bite to eat before heading for another loop. As I was exiting the west end of the boardwalk a tattered male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was huddled next to the wooden path and munching on some seed. The singing Northern Waterthrush was foraging among the flooded trees and appeared long enough for a quick photo.
Not quite done w/ warblers, I found a willing Black-and-White Warbler foraging in a tree above the boardwalk.
I might've been cold and soaked, but I was happy to have spent some quality time w/ the warblers this day.
Time to celebrate the upcoming Biggest Week in Birding!