Celebrating Spring Wood Warblers

Chestnut-sided Warbler, (Dendroica pensylvanica), spring migrant, Crane Creek SP, Ohio

I want to share a medley of recent spring warblers with you just for the fun of it. In the last four years, I have been lucky and was able to spend the equivalent of 2 months field time during spring migration photographing songbirds. Much of this time has been spent at my new favorite place, the famed boardwalk at Magee Marsh, Ohio. As a photographer, I have been able to observe, for hours at time, the daily activities of migrants on passage. You see, the photographer can not run from bird to bird clicking and ticking them off, one has to wait, often till the bird comes to you. The wait affords me time to simply watching them forage, avoid predators, court, preen and sing there way north. My bird photos are intended to be slices in the life of a bird whose existence depends on doing this migration thing right. I am satisfied when I capture a moment that shows a behavior or a feel for the real bird in its element.

I have been interested in the natural world since my early childhood when I spent countless hours in the woods, and later in high school I got the camera bug. Somewhere along the line I become keenly interested in birds. Perhaps it was one memorable wave of warblers working a hillside in mid May that hooked me. I was working in Connecticut and my employer encouraged us to take a break to watch the birds, and she even joined us with binoculars in hand. The colorful, vibrant, energetic little life forms flitting through the woods at eyelevel, one instant gloriously beautiful, and the next gone, following their migration path bug by bug, left a magical impression that is still with me. Gradually I started to get natural history and environmental images published through an agent. My photos were getting published, they were telling stories and influencing people and I was thrilled beyond belief. I figured I had arrived as a photographer when I was published in Audubon Magazine in the mid 80’s for the second time. The double page spread photo was of a Prothonotary Warbler on branch reflected in a pool of water taken in the spring at Point Pelee.

As new equipment came along I upgraded and my photography continued to improve. In the late 90’s a demanding high profile NY photo job took all my time and my own photography dwindled to almost nothing. When I was finally able to devote sometime again to photography, I found a changed world. A revolution occurred during my multi year hiatus, film was out and digital photography became the norm. Luckily I missed the early stages of digital photography and once I looked into it, found the Canon 1dsMII and was convinced that this was the first digital camera that would let me make images like I did before. It took some doing, but thanks to Canon, Apple Computer and Aperture software, I feel as productive today as a digital photographer as I ever was with film.

I am making field studies of free flying songbirds with confidence. I am re-visiting favorite locations and scouting new ones. I am continuing with my multi year quest to document as many aspects of migrant songbirds as I can get lenses on. I have my sights set on return visits to the tropics to continue to document our birds, the neo-tropic migrants, on their wintering grounds, when they are somebody else’s birds for longer periods than they are ours. I have an idea germinating for an interactive I-pad type e-book, which I hope, will be the culmination of over two decades of songbird photography.

Blackpoll Warbler, (Dendroica striata), male, spring migrant, East Rock Park, New Haven, Connecticut

Magnolia Warbler, (Dendroica magnolia), male singing on spring migration, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Magnolia Warbler, (Dendroica magnolia), male singing on spring migration, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Palm Warbler (Dendroica palmarum), spring migrant, foraging in forest along Lake Erie, viewed from boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Black-and-white Warbler, (Mniotilta varia), spring migrant, male, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Yellow-throated Warbler, (Dendroica dominica), spring migrant, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Mourning Warbler, (Oporonis Philadelphia), male, spring migrant, Crane Creek SP, Ohio

Kentucky Warbler (Oporonis formosus), spring migrant with spider silk on bill tip, foraging in forest along Lake Erie, viewed from boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Bay-breasted Warbler, (Dendroica castanea), male, spring migrant, Crane Creek SP, Ohio

Yellow Warbler, (Dendroica petechia), spring, male, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) male singing on spring migration, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Wilson’s Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) male, spring migrant, foraging in forest along Lake Erie, viewed from boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio

American Redstart, (Setophaga ruticilla), spring migrant, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Black-throated Blue Warbler, breeding plumage male, (Dendroica caerulescens), spring migrant, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Cape May Warbler, breeding plumage male, (Dendroica tigrina), spring migrant with insect prey, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Cerulean Warbler, (Dendroica cerlea), female, spring migrant foraging, Crane Creek SP, Ohio

Canada Warbler, (Wilsonia Canadensis), spring migrant, Crane Creek SP, Ohio

Ovenbird, (Seiurus aurocapillus), spring migrant, Crane Creek State Park, Ohio

Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) male, spring, foraging in forest along Lake Erie, viewed from boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Hooded Warbler, (Wilsonia citrina), male, spring migrant foraging in coastal vegetation on glacial moraine, Hamonassett SP, CT

Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca) male, spring migrant, foraging in forest along Lake Erie, viewed from boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Golden-winged Warbler (Vermivora chrysoptera) male, spring migrant, foraging in forest along Lake Erie, Metzer Marsh, Ohio

Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla) spring migrant, Neotropical, foraging, viewed from boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Kirtland’s Warbler (Dendroica kirtlandii), spring migrant, foraging in scrub vegetation along Lake Erie beach front, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Oak Harbor, Ohio

Thanks for looking!

For more on the ins and outs of songbird migration, click here to listen to a BirdCallsRadio archive with myself as the guest. 04-16-11 Bird Calls with spots

Additional article: Migrants, Here and There, Intimate Encounters with Birds of Passage. https://kymry.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/migrants-here-and-there-intimate-encounters-with-birds-of-passage/

 If you are interested in Townsend speaking at your next organization or corporate meeting, Please contact KymryGroup™  for his schedule & fees.

About Kymry

Welcome to the KymryGroup. We will be showcasing photography by several different photographers with a Look in time from 1925 to the present. Share Business & Technology of Photography. Including adventures in the birding world and many other interesting insights and observations along the way.
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13 Responses to Celebrating Spring Wood Warblers

  1. A very nice post and wonderful photographs. I hope you persue your e-book. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Dawn Fine says:

    Wonderful! Its so nice to be here at Magee Marsh during spring migration! Wish you were able to be here this year. 😦

  3. Thank you so much for sharing these photos. I got back from 10+ hours at Magee Marsh yesterday and I am a birder and do not take photos, but could swear these are the actual looks I got observing these flitting jewels! Great job and Congratulations for capturing the joy of these spectacular creatures.

  4. Patty McKelvey says:

    All of the photos are beautiful and crisp! Thanks for sharing and reinforcing my memories of being at Magee Marsh.

  5. Elena says:

    Thank you for these wonderful pictures. They are inspiring me to take a second look when out in the field. Such little amazing beauties!

  6. Ricki Soucy says:

    In all the years I’ve been birding, I’ve never seen some of those warblers as up close as those pictures. Thanks for a wonderful view.

  7. Sarah says:

    What beautiful birds, you would almost think their feathers were painted, and the photos really do capture their essence. How do these little delicate creatures survive a long migration??? It is truly a wonder.

  8. underclearskies says:

    Magical set of photos you guys! Some really characterful shots in with the classic NatGeo portraits. Lovely work!

  9. Duane Hurlbert says:

    Totally stunning! Nature and photography at it’s best!

  10. Nannette Orr says:

    What a spectacular warbler celebration. Two were life *views* for me – Thank you. Nannette

  11. Barbara Garrett says:

    Mardi,

    Absolutely wonderful, uplifting work. For me, your work brings joy, while educating. Thanks!

  12. Birdspot says:

    Beautiful – the best virtual/vicarious East Coast migration I’ve seen so far!

  13. Judy says:

    Beautiful!

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