Thursday, May 10, 2012

The last bird of the evening...a spunky Yellow Warbler!

Photographing my last bird of the evening on the last evening of my trip made me feel a little sad. The phenomenon of spring migration along Lake Erie is addictive, and I knew tomorrow it would be very hard to walk away from the Magee Marsh boardwalk and the "easy pickin's" of its colorful neotropical songbirds. The only consolation was my farewell bird was a specific male Yellow Warbler that had been tugging at my heart all week. You may be wondering how it was possible to separate one male Yellow Warbler from the hundreds that sing and flit along on the boardwalk! Simple...he was the mate of a sweet little female who had been working nonstop to build her nest. This little male had to be the most dedicated Valentino on the boardwalk, serenading the industrious female with endless rounds of robust and lively song! I enjoyed watching the couple and learned a lot. Every now and then the female would abandon her work and the two would take off together, flying like mad through the branches of a huge old tree just across the boardwalk from her nest, but she'd never play around too long. Soon she was back to work, scouring the deep crevices in the craggy bark of that old tree looking for food, but mostly looking for spider silk that she would take back to her nest...

Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia)
...my parting shot of the male Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) I had grown fond of this week.  

The large black eyes on the plain yellow faces of the Yellow Warblers get me every time. I never grow tired of seeing one of our most common nesting warblers. Their song is loud and cheery too, and the chestnut streaking on their flanks and chest is striking...

...the hard-working female Yellow Warbler looks like she's resting here, but she's not. She had just deposited a small clump of spider web and was busy tamping it down with her body. Every time she would add something to the nest, she would sit in the nest and move around, molding the small cup to her body.

...again, she's working, not resting, as she molds the nest to fit her body. She was especially keen on gathering bits of spider's silk she found in the deep crevices of the bark on the nearby old gnarly tree.  

The shrubby tree she had chosen for her nest hung out over the water, and I had to shoot through about eight feet of leaves plus the distance on the boardwalk--in other words, these photos are cropped down to the hilt.

...till next year Mr. Yellow!

Learn more about migration at Magee Marsh...
If you want to learn more about Magee Marsh and spring migration along Lake Erie, click here for an article titled "Magee; Anatomy of a Migrant Hotspot," by Kenn Kaufman. I stumbled across the article earlier on the American Birding Association blog, and it explains everything that is going on at this birding hotspot!

...I will probably be blogging about The Biggest Week in American Birding and this trip for the next three weeks, but don't worry, it won't get boring. I have a lot of cool bird photos (and other critters) and learned a lot too...

p.s. Did you see the Kirtland's Warbler today?
If you want to see a fantastic photo of the beautiful and rare Kirtland's Warbler seen on the boardwalk today, click here to go to Bobby Harrison's blog. Bobby was in the right place at the right time, and the ever-drooled-after K-bird practically flew in front of his lens and posed!

18 comments:

Elaine said...

Wonderful series, Kelly! I love that first shot--he seems to be saying farewell to you too. Sounds like you had a fabulous time at Magee Marsh. You're probably already making your reservations for next year.

Roy said...

Lovely story and great photos Kelly.

Sue said...

Excellent photo of Mr. Beautiful!

KaHolly said...

She's beautiful. They nest on my property and delight me all through the summer. I'm still awaiting their arrival. It's still cold and dismal here in Cape Breton, but I know that soon I'll be doing the happy warbler dance!! ~karen

Janice K said...

Such great pictures of Him and Her. So neat for you to be able to see the story unfolding before your very eyes.

Susan Ellis said...

Beautifully captured Kelly!

E said...

Beautiful and very lovely captures, Kelly, congratulations and thanks for sharing your art and passion. Big hugs.

Laure Ferlita said...

Falling in love with just one bird?! Only you, girl, only you!

Such wonderful shots and I can see why you'd take a shine to that cute little fellow. Love the nest shots too!

TexWisGirl said...

such beautiful birds! just wonderful.

Cindy said...

Beautiful little bird and the photos are great.

Ana Mínguez Corella said...

Ohhh!!!.. Lovely bird with a beautiful color.. great pictures.. Congrat..
Ana

Marfa said...

You're just the person I wanted to ask... While walking on Tues. evening, I found a little chickadee, who didn't seem to be able to fly, so we coaxed it (using leaves) to the base of the tree, where hopefully it will be safe. I thought about bringing it home, but I hope the mother will check on her baby and feed her/him. I think it was a fledgling, looked like all the feathers were formed, but one wing may have been a little bent? Nice black cap and gray body, little bit of white.

Oh, I also missed the book club at the library yesterday...miss seeing your mom! ♥

Montanagirl said...

Fabulous set of photos as always, Kelly! Your time there was well spent.

Lois said...

I'm so happy that you had a nice trip and got this warbler picture that you hoped for.

Gillian Olson said...

They are beautiful, thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

Wow looks loike ou really enjoy the Magee marsh and I'm happy that you could get this superb pictures of the warblers... I used to say that it is not the gear that makes the pictures, and see, I'm right as you got wonderful pictures. Do you know I've seen the yellow warbler here in Iceland. Back in 2010, one lost its track to Iceland. We drove 1 hour to see it and we did! Gorgeous bird...

Chad said...

Nice post! I remember last year when I was at the boardwalk and spent a good deal of time enjoying the Yellow Warblers. They are so cute and so bright. Great birds!!

Kelly said...

...thanks everyone! It was a great experience up at magee. I'm going back next year for spring migration! The Yellow Warblers were numerous. Their loud song could be heard everywhere, and they forage lower in the trees for good viewing!

Marfa....email me to let me know how the little fellow fared. Mom mentioned you weren't there...