I carried the big telephoto around for several hours yesterday, visiting several locations at which I had previously seen quite a few warblers, but I came up with a very short list of birds. The resident orioles, song sparrows, goldfinches, cardinals, and even catbirds were quite obliging — all singing away, but the warblers (except one you’ll see below) were sadly absent.
The best and most persistent singer of the bunch was the Yellow Warbler, a bird fond of willows and low shrubs, where it usually advertises its presence in a bold manner by shouting out “here I am — aren’t I beautiful?”
The Squawker was an Eastern Kingbird, who sat on an eye level branch about 50 feet away, giving me the once over. But the bird was not shy about diving after an insect or two and then returning to exactly the same branch. I took at least 20 nice photos, but only one in which the bird opened its mouth to give its characteristic buzz-squawk call. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has several recordings of the pleasant songs Kingbirds sing — but perhaps this was a female, or a non-territorial male.
American Goldfinches males are usually vociferous singers, loudly proclaiming their breeding status to all around them. I must have gotten too close, because he half-turned, looked shyly away from me, and then made a dive for cover in the nearby bushes.
Better luck next year…maybe the warblers will stop in for a day or two then.