Author Archives: birdmin

American Redstart

My only criteria for a warbler to be crowned grand champion of the migration is that they be great in number and ridiculously cooperative. The American Redstart is a previous grand champion and they’re numerous so far this fall, but they are so excited to be at the Celery Bog that they just won’t sit still for photos. I have managed a couple so that’s points for this bird, but with the magnolias stepping up lately, and the palms and yellow rumps yet to arrive, it’s gonna be a photo finish!

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Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

The Sycamore Audubon meeting was about to start; thousands of people were lined up to see my presentation, and I was neck deep in warblers! “Okay, one more bird then I gotta go!” And another, and another, tick tock, I really have to go now. No more, that’s it, ooh a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher? That’s a good one to end on, time for the other show!

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Magnolia Warbler

There are two seasons as far as I’m concerned: spring warbler migration and fall warbler migration. Each season I look forward to some up close and personal time with my favorite little Magnolia Warbler pal. I start to worry midway through the migration if he hasn’t come out to play, but he always does. Here’s part one of my Mega Magnolia Warbler Monday 2017!!!

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Bay-breasted Warbler

I stumbled upon this bush full of birds today and a happy little Bay-breasted Warbler popped out to greet me. There were all kinds of warblers in this bush and I wondered if a bay-breasted could even tell itself apart from a Blackpoll Warbler. He laughed and laughed and finally said “Feet, gray feet!” Warblers think everything is funny!

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Chestnut-sided Warbler

There have been so many Chestnut-sided Warblers at the Celery Bog so far that I’m inclined to designate this bird as poster child for the first half of the fall migration. No pressure bird, but you better do something cute and fast! There you go buddy, good job! Ahh, head tilts, nice! And some peeks for good measure. The sun had literally just come up when out popped this happy little warbler. He sure knows how to mug for the camera!

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Golden-winged Warbler

I totally understand bird, it happens to me all the time. When you’re as attractive as we are, people are gonna stare. No, we’re not models! Sheesh, can’t a guy just hang out in peace with his Golden-winged Warbler pal? Real world problems of ridiculously attractive birds and birders.

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Black-and-white Warbler

It’s been a long time since I’ve encountered a cooperative Black-and-white Warbler. Just look at the zebra-stripey goodness on that bird! I didn’t even have to whine, cry or beg to get this shot. Wait a minute, I did all of those things. Hey, my technique works! It really works!

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Forster’s Tern

Alright guys, take a five minute snack break while I go down to the water and see what I can see. Yeah right, telling a warbler to take a snack break is like telling them to keep doing what they’ve been doing all day! They are the snack masters; creepy snacks, crawly snacks, crunchy snacks, gooey snacks. Wait, where was I? Oh yeah, Forster’s Tern flying over the bog! That’s bird species #160 I’ve photographed at the Celery Bog. Now, time to tell them warblers break time is over!

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Chestnut-sided Warbler

It was the young Chestnut-sided Warbler’s first encounter with a world-class wilderness explorer and he was nervous. “Ma, you didn’t teach me about this. MA?!?!” He quickly realized though, that he’s a big bird now and went right back to foraging with his friends.

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Wilson’s Warbler

Amid the chaos of my epic warbler weekend there was a little yellow somebody darting back and forth across a small opening in the bush. He never stopped out in the open, not once. Who is this mysterious little hidey bird? I could go out on a limb and say it’s a Wilson’s Warbler but you know I would never make a random guess like that, not me. Wait, got him! He finally paused long enough for me to get a shot and I’ll take it because like I always say, a half a Wilson is better than no Wilson at all. I knew I should have made that guess!

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Golden-winged Warbler

In my experience, a group of warblers will gradually move past you in one direction or the other and if you’re careful you can move along with them and become an honorary member of their bouquet. During my epic warbler weekend though, they didn’t move either way. For a half hour they stayed in the same bush and took turns hopping out for photos. Tennessees, magnolias, black-and whites, chestnuts, how could this day get any better!?! How about a Golden-winged Warbler, would that make it better? YUP!!! And then, of course, a few minutes after that the Hooded Warbler showed up. Epic warbler weekend indeed!

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Yellow-throated Vireo

The Celery Bog has been very vireo lately; soft, smushy chirps drifting lazily through the treetops. I’ve photographed them all, some better than others, however. The Yellow-throated Vireo is at the top of my list for some new and improved photos and that’s who I set out to capture this morning. Immediately upon my arrival at the bog I spotted a little yellow somebody dancing among the leaves and I knew exactly who it was, “Ooh, ooh, warbler!!!” I whispered confidently. Nope, that’s a Yellow-throated Vireo! I call everything warblers this time of year.

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Hooded Warbler

My face still hurts after this one but don’t worry, I’ll be okay. It was totally worth it! I was already having a warblertastic day, the theme being: how could this day get any better? Followed each time by fancier, more cooperative birds; the final bird being this amazing, surprisingly cooperative Hooded Warbler. I spent the next two hours walking around the Celery Bog with the dopiest grin on my face, stopping every few feet to check the photo on my camera and confirm that it actually happened. I wonder how many birds I missed while I was doing that. People walking by were giving me the strangest looks as they hurried past. What gives, huh? Oh yeah, dopey grin! Totally worth it!

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Tennessee Warbler

It was cloudy, windy and cold this morning; the worst possible conditions for bird photography, so I went to the Celery Bog. Why? Because… birds! I knew if I could find a calm spot with a sunbeam, I’d find a bird, and I did. Over and over again! This Tennessee Warbler squirted out of the weeds at my feet and I said “Hello,” because that’s how I greet birds and squirrels and people, “but you’re too close, could you go right over there please?” And he did.

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Indigo Bunting

I haven’t seen a warbler yet today so I’m going to stand right here until I do. I’ll stay here all day if I have to, I mean it. I’m not taking another photo unless it’s a warbler. Ooh pretty! Come on, I can’t not photograph an Indigo Bunting. Okay, starting NOW I’m not- ooh what’s that over there?

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Ovenbird

Even a world-class wilderness explorer such as myself can get a little excited when the first warbler of the season shows up, but when it’s an Ovenbird I completely lose my mind! This patient little dude waited forever while I fumbled with my camera and eventually got it pointed his direction while mashing down the shutter button!

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Herring Gull

Surely that’s a bird I’ve already photographed flying over the bog. “You’ve never photographed me anywhere and don’t call me Shirley!” Dang, note to self: don’t call a Herring Gull Shirley! Can I call you my 158th bird species photographed at the Celery Bog? Yup!

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