Sunday, May 27, 2018

Pic of the Day

Black-throated Green Warbler, Setophaga Virens; Magee Marsh, Ohio

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm  f/4, Exposure 1/1600 sec. @ f/8

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Pic of the Day

Tennessee Warbler, Leiothlypis peregrina:  Magee Marsh, Ohio

                                   Warbling Vireo, Vireo gilvus:  Magee Marsh, Ohio

     With its gray cap, green back and slender bill the Tennessee Warbler is quite a dapper fellow in the tree tops during migration.  This spring I saw an abundance of Tennessee Warblers at Magee Marsh where they stopped to refuel before heading on to their boreal forest breeding grounds. 
     Many people were confusing the Warbling Vireo with this handsome fellow.  Though some may think they look similar, they do look quite different as these two photos show.  The Tennessee has that sleek thin beak where the Warbling Vireo as a stout hooked beek.  The dark eyeline and green back of the Tennessee is also absent in the vireo.
     They are not just different in appearance, but very different in behavior as well.  The Warbling Vireo methodically moves from branch to branch with a fairly  consistent foraging speed, the Tennessee Warbler on the other hand, moves like lighting in comparison.  This behavior easily separates the two species.

     Of course, I love photographing both, and though I have just returned from Magee Marsh I am already dreaming of next spring.  But in the mean time, I’ll prepare to photograph these lovely jewels on their return migration in the fall. 

Top photo: Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/320 sec. @ f/6.3
Bottom photo: Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4, 1/640 sec. @ f/8

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Pic of the Day

 Blackpoll Warbler, Setophaga striata (Male):  Magee Marsh, Ohio 

 Blackpoll Warbler, Setophaga striata (Female):  Magee Marsh, Ohio 

         Warblers are one of my favorite species of birds to photograph, and I have just spent two weeks in one of my favorite places photographing these spring beauties.     During the month of May and untold number of warblers and other neotropical migrants pass through Magee Marsh on the south side of Lake Erie in the state of Ohio.
         Blackpoll warblers were a plentiful species this year. Along with Cape May and Tennessee Warblers all seem to have had an exceptional 2017 breeding season due to the spruce budworm outbreak last year.  In more than a decade of traveling to Magee Marsh, I have never seen so many Blackpolls at Magee.
         The Blackpoll Warbler is a champion long distance migrant.  Wintering in northern South America it travels north through the eastern United States to it reach its nesting grounds in the northern boreal forest that stretches from Newfoundland to western Alaska. 
         On its return trip in the fall most Blackpolls migrate east across the northern latitudes to the east coast and then turn south crossing the western Atlantic to South America in a non stop 3 to 4 day trip.  Blackpolls make the longest migration of all the warblers, some traveling as much as 16,000 miles round trip.   Nature is truly amazing!

Top photo:  Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f 4,  exposure 1/125 second @ f 8.

Bottom Photo: Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f 4,  exposure 1/200 second @ f 8.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Pic of the Day

American Bittern, Botaurus lentiginosus: 
Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge near Titusville, Florida
     I have seen many American Bitterns over my birding career, but seldom have I seen them out in the open like this bird I found along the Black Point Wildlife Drive in Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.   Most bitterns I see are hidden or partially hidden within the reed beds.
       This image was taken just after sunrise, just as sunlight began to ripple over a water impoundment berm of the refuge drive.  As the slight glow of light on the bittern began to intensify it quickly turned and walked back into the mangroves to escape the brunt of the morning light.
       A beautiful bird, the American Bittern is created to blend into its natural environment.  It striations of white, cream, cinnamon, and browns make this species the king of camouflage.

Nikon D800, Nikkor 500mm f/4,  Exposure 1/80th second @ f/5.6