Warbler bonanza

What a morning!  Here in the Twin Cities we went from a few migratory birds to a lot, from one warbler species (Yellow-rumped) to many in the space of just a couple of days between storm fronts.  I was getting whiplash from spinning around shooting photos at Veteran’s Park south of Minneapolis. Rather than tell stories about each of these bird species now, I’ll just present the array for your spectator pleasure, and save the biology for later.  I saw a total of 11 warbler species, but only got decent photos of 7 of them.

black and white warbler

Black-and-white Warblers are well named and easy to recognize. They specialize in gleaning insects from bark and spiral upward (or downward) around the trunk of the tree. They remind me of a nuthatch in the way that they forage.

chestnut-sided warbler

Chestnut-sided warblers are also insect gleaners, preferring to work the foliage of the smaller branches on trees and shrubs. They have a golden cap, which you can’t see very well in this photo, in addition to their rust-brown sides.

common yellowthroat

The Common Yellowthroat Warbler is easy to spot in dry cattails or the low grass along the shore, but this bird is constantly on the move, and almost impossible to catch in a momentary pause.

nashville warbler

Nashville Warblers are supposed to concentrate their foraging efforts in the lower branches of the trees, but the only ones I’ve seen are way up in the top. Bright yellow bellies contrasted with gray head and back is typical of several warbler species, but this one has a white eyering!

palm warbler

Palm Warblers forage more on the ground than other warbler species do, digging through the leaf litter to find insects. This bright yellow fellow is, of course, much more colorful than his drab mate, but both of them have the signature chestnut cap and yellow eyestripe.

yellow-rumped warbler

The most common of the warblers that migrate through this area — the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Affectionately known as “butterbutts” for their characteristic flag of yellow rump feathers, they also sport a very handsome vest of black chest feathers beneath their black mask and slate-blue caps.

And last, but not least, the glow-in-the-dark Yellow Warbler, who frequent wet places near the shoreline of lakes and streams.  This one is my favorite -- because he sits still for more than a nanosecond.

And last, but not least, the glow-in-the-dark Yellow Warbler, who frequents wet places near the shoreline of lakes and streams. This one is my favorite — because he sits still for more than a nanosecond.

12 thoughts on “Warbler bonanza

  1. Seven warbler photos in one day – fantastic! And such clear shots for notoriously difficult birds. It was a ‘bird buffet’ here too. Migrants everywhere, even in the park,

    • The cold weather here is holding the warblers back and they are stacking up, with early and late arrivals all trying to gain some weight to finish their trip. The backyard is just crazy with birds right now.

    • A once a year experience (that I have never actually done before), but I guess it’s always like this on Mother’s Day weekend at this location.

    • That WAS a lot of warblers we saw, and I only got photos of a few of them. Altogether we saw 25 different species of warblers.

    • Oh, so true, and I’m grateful for digital photography, because there would be a LOT of wasted film. After trying to photograph warblers, I appreciate all the other species that are so much slower moving.

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