Red-headed Woodpecker

It doesn’t seem fair that the Red-bellied Woodpecker gets its name because of a small red smudge on its belly, “Well, he should be called red-headed”, is what I’ve heard from some, upon misidentification. Then you meet the real Red-headed Woodpecker, the true champion of red-headedness, and it all makes sense. Just look at that magnificent crimson head!

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White-crowned Sparrow

I’ve been trying for years to get some good closeup shots of a White-crowned Sparrow. They’re not particularly shy or uncommon, but I’m still not sure why this one left the safety of that bush for the ground right at my feet. Oh yeah, now I remember, because I was INVISIBLE! This stripey little dude plopped down in front of me just a few seconds before my next ridiculously close encounter with the Least Flycatcher from yesterday and now I’ve finally got some closeups!

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Least Flycatcher

The birds were lining up in front of me all afternoon and I started to feel like I was actually turning invisible again. It wasn’t until this Least Flycatcher plopped down a few feet away that I knew for sure. He was perched there calmly, relaxing on that limb for a good thirty seconds when he casually glanced over his shoulder in my general direction. He went back to relaxing for a little while longer, then turned around and leaned in for a closer look, as if to verify that no one was there. He never did fly away, even after I had moved on.

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Black-billed Cuckoo

I was birding in my super-double top-secret evening warbler bike path, I mean hotspot! Secret hotspot! Not bike path… sigh, okay, it’s the bike path. Although lately it’s been luke warm to coldish. That’s what I was thinking about when I noticed the distinctive red eye-ring and curved beak peeking at me. “Cuckoo! Cuckoo! Black-billed Cuckoo!!! Uhh, heh heh, it’s a bird.” Why is the bike path always so crowded when I make discoveries!?!

Nashville Warbler

Normally a shy bird, this Nashville Warbler actually came out of the dense brush and posed for me a little bit. I didn’t beg like I usually do and we didn’t talk much, so I’m not sure why. Probably the same reason everyone else stops and stares: because I’m funny looking? That can’t be it.

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Magnolia Warbler

During springtime and fall when the little yellow flap flaps magically appear dancing among the leaves, this is who I hope to see first. Lifers are a fine sight, and rare birds are great, but deep down, I really hope it’s a Magnolia Warbler up there, dancing among the leaves.

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American Redstart

The Celery Bog is filled with orioles right now so I thought it would be fun to take a closer look at these adorable baby Baltimore Orioles. Wait a minute, my entire technical staff are frantically waving at me right now, that can’t be good. Okay, so it’s the collective opinion of my staff that these are neither baby birds nor orioles at all, but rather warblers- full grown American Redstarts to be exact. That can’t be right, I’ll have to look this one up myself.

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Blue-headed Vireo

When I spotted this blue, blue, Blue-headed Vireo contemplating a bath at the Celery Bog, the song Blue Christmas started playing in my head and I hummed along to it for three hours on my hike! That’s normal, right? Also unusual was the bathing method employed by this bird; kind of a hover-splash then perch and preen, and rinse and repeat!

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Great Crested Flycatcher

I watched as a Great Crested Flycatcher landed in the very top of the tallest tree around; they like to be really high up. Before long he was on his way and I didn’t take a shot. There was no disappointment or dismay on my part for not attempting to get that shot; he was just too high in the tree. A few minutes later, as I stood there slowly filling with disappointment and dismay, he came back, and this time he landed in a much shorter tree!

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Northern Waterthrush

As a world-class wilderness explorer for hire I sometimes get expedition requests for a particular bird species. That was the case with this Northern Waterthrush. My customer that day, let’s just say her name rhymes with Shari. Oops, I mean Mary, it rhymes with Mary! Whew, that was close. So Mary desperately wanted to photograph a Northern Waterthrush and myself being the world’s foremost leading waterthrush expert knew right where to find them: down by the water! We were able to locate one right away on a perfect perch, in perfect light and I was blasting away, but not even so much as a click from Mary. Apparently she had a branch in her way the entire time and I’m gonna owe her a full refund unless I can somehow convince her that she took this photo. Wait a minute, I don’t charge anything. Nevermind!

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Ruby-throated Hummingbird

There was a rumble in the distance; more rain coming, perhaps? No, this was much bigger. There it is again, it’s getting louder. Bzzzzzz ZZZZZZ ZOOOOM! Zoom! Zoom! Three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds just high-tailed it down the path and zipped past my head like some kind of life or death dart game, and I was the dart board! Apparently this guy has staked his claim because he ran those other two off several times and each time he returned to his perfect little tree in a tiny clearing. I thought that because it was so dreary and dark I wouldn’t see the ruby throat but then he gave me a little wink and lit it up!

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Indigo Bunting

Two clicks of the shutter was all the time I had; 1/500th of a second apiece. He wasn’t there long, but in bunting time it was an eternity. I happened upon a happy little mural of Indigo Buntings and they were so distracted with chasing each other around that I thought it might be a good opportunity to get one if he paused nearby. I was amazed when, almost immediately upon hatching my brilliant plan, he did! But did I get the shot? Did I? Did I? Huh!?! I fumbled anxiously with my camera to check those two shots and guess what? I got him twice!

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Scarlet Tanager

Happiness is hanging out with your first favorite bird from childhood. I was already having an epic day birding when this… Scarlet Tanager plopped down directly in front of me. I hesitated there because my technical staff are divided on which tanager this actually is, so I’ve just decided to call her Scarlet Summers. I took a few photos while she perched fifteen feet away, but then she came even closer, to the point where my minimum focus distance had been breached. With no way to take more photos, all I could do is enjoy this bird from ridiculously close up and wonder why she was crowding my personal space!

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Red-breasted Nuthatch

For six months all I heard about was Red-breasted Nuthatches. “I’ve got one in MY yard.” “I’ve got TEN in mine!” “Mine perches on my FINGER!” “MINE crawls up my sleeve and kisses me on the cheek.” After several months of therapy I was cured of that particular bird envy, but then it started again with recent reports of late season Red-breasted Nuthatches passing through. I was about to schedule some more therapies when I spotted a pudgy, stripey headed little dude above me in a tree and now I’m cured!

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Blue-winged Warbler

It’s a strange little buzzing sound that could easily be mistaken for a cricket or some funny little tree frog, but if you recognize it as a bird and successfully track down the source, you’ll be rewarded with a Blue- winged Warbler sighting. If you’re lucky, like I was today, he might even come down from the treetops and have a peek at you!

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Common Yellowthroat

My favorite season is spring warbler migration. Uhh, heh heh, I mean spring. My second favorite season is fall warbler migration. Oops, I mean fall! Most warblers pass through here twice a year and keep right on going. Some stick around all summer though, and the Common Yellowthroat is one of them. Take a look at this little masked bandit! What are you stealing little buddy? It doesn’t even matter, take whatever you want!

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House Wren

I’ve got a backyard squirrel who waits for me on the deck rail in his jumping pose and as I throw some peanuts out there I tell him “Don’t you jump, don’t do it squirrel!” He jumps every time and has to climb down the tree and back up on the deck. It’s just a weird little game we play. Well, the other day at the Celery Bog I came upon this House Wren who had assumed the jumping squirrel pose and I automatically said “Don’t you jump, don’t do it bird!” That’s when I realized I had completely lost my marbles! He didn’t jump though, not until after I got the shot.

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White-eyed Vireo

It was getting dark when the rain started falling, and my ISO’s were rapidly approaching unacceptable levels. “Why am I here?”, I muttered to myself, when a little yellow somebody emerged from the shadows. Ahhh, THAT’S why I’m here! That White-eyed Vireo is the reason! He’s why I was here yesterday and all the times before that, enduring the wind, rain and cold, and the warm, sunny days too. For the chance to be approached in the woods by such an amazing little creature and be allowed to look on as he frolicked in the foliage, and paused briefly at every perfect perch to look me over. That’s why. Any other stupid questions? Hey, sometimes I need reminding and this is usually what happens.

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