an amazing day

Finally! some sun after several days of cold rain.  It was a brisk, but clear, sunny day and the birds were obviously as happy about that as I was. I walked around Afton State Park for a couple of hours and saw 13 species of warblers, in addition to about 30 other species.

I must have seen about 200 of these -- all of which were bouncing from limb to limb to ground, never still for a moment.

I must have seen about 200 of these American Redstarts — all of which were bouncing from limb to limb to ground, never still for a moment.  What an annoying bird to photograph.

Female Redstarts were much more sedate.

Female Redstarts were much more sedate.

A black-throated green warbler -- well named.

A black-throated green warbler — well named.

Blue-gray gnatcatchers were in league with the Redstart males -- flitting continuously from branch to branch.  This one almost flew out of the photo.  Even though it was in the top right corner of the frame, it was still in focus.

Blue-gray gnatcatchers copied the male Redstarts’ behavior, flitting continuously from branch to branch. This one almost flew out of the photo.

A Chestnut-sided Warbler whose chestnut sides have not quite developed (perhaps a first year male).  He was either in the process of taking off or landing.

A Chestnut-sided Warbler whose chestnut sides have not quite developed (perhaps a first year male). He was either in the process of taking off or landing.

Eastern Towhee singing "drink your teeeeaaaaa"

Eastern Towhee singing “drink your teeeeeeea”

A very cute flycatcher, one of many in the genus Empidonax that you can't tell apart unless you hear and know their song.

A very cute flycatcher, one of many in the genus Empidonax that you can’t tell apart unless you hear and know their song.

An immature male or a female Yellow Warbler (faint red streaks on the breast) was one of the only cooperative warblers  for the day.

An immature male or a female Yellow Warbler (faint red streaks on the breast) was one of the only cooperative warblers for the day.

Female Scarlet Tanagers look nothing like their bold crimson and black mates.

Female Scarlet Tanagers look nothing like their bold crimson and black mates.

Meadowlarks are pretty eye-catching, but this guy didn't want to show me his bright yellow breast.

Meadowlarks are pretty eye-catching, but this guy didn’t want to show me his bright yellow breast.

The waves of migrants are still arriving, and what is interesting is that not only are there new species arriving, but we now have many more females than males of the earlier-arriving species (who left to set up their breeding territories).  I also see more first-year males with less well-developed color now than previously. What a delicate balance it is to arrive early, face cold weather and short food supply, but try to be first on the breeding ground … or die trying.

5 thoughts on “an amazing day

  1. I am amazed by the variety of birds that you were able to see and photograph so wonderfully. Not only were you able to capture the birds in perfect focus, but the backgrounds are often a beautiful blur.

    • I am very pleased with this new lens. It is very sharp, and all it takes for a good photo is some patience and good light. I was disappointed that I never got a really good shot of a redstart after seeing so many, but they seem to vex other photographers as well.

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