Tuesday, May 07, 2013

A Birdwatcher's Dream - and Nightmare

.
On Saturday we started our visit to High Island with a walk to the Smith Oaks rookery. (I'll report on that in a later blog.) We followed up with a picnic lunch and a little birding in Smith Oaks.

The trees around the picnic area were busy with Eastern Wood-Pewee, a late Red-breasted Nuthatch and several warblers - American Redstart, Tennessee, Chestnut-sided, Blackburnian, Black-throated Green and Magnolia.

Blackburnian Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

I took a brief walk through the woods, hoping for Yellow-billed Cuckoo. Everyone I met had seen several but I missed them all. However, I did get two looks at two birds of a much less common species, the Black-billed Cuckoo, which was a life bird for me.  





After lunch Dee and I spent an hour at Boy Scout Woods, where there was plenty to look at. Within a few minutes we had seen Swainson's Thrush, Gray Catbirds, a late American Goldfinch in breeding plumage, Indigo and Painted Buntings, Philadelphia and Red-eyed Vireos, and Ovenbird. Later arrivals were Scarlet Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Hooded Warbler and American Redstart. A quick visit to the Prothonotary Pond produced my first Northern Waterthrush of the year.

The next morning I was at Smith Oaks early and was greeted by few birders but a lot of birds. One small area had 8 warbler species, mainly close enough to watch without binoculars. I rushed back to the motel, got Dee and brought her back to enjoy the scene.

For the next 90 minutes we hardly moved, because we were surrounded by warblers and vireos (plus a Western Kingbird and an Eastern Wood-Pewee). Most of the birds came within 10 feet of where we and other birders were standing. It really was a birdwatcher's and bird photographer's dream!

Unfortunately, for this bird photographer it immediately turned into a nightmare when my camera stopped working. At first it kept refusing to focus. Then, when it did focus, it decided to grossly over-exposure the photos. It was unbelievably frustrating! When I got home, I found I was able to rescue only a handful of photos, and even those don't do justice to the birds we saw. Oh, well, at least we got to see the birds up close! 

Black-and-White Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler
.
Northern Parula
.
Tennessee Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler
.
Chestnut-sided Warbler
.
Bay-breasted Warbler
.
Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler
.

5 comments:

Dina said...

Still a great group of birds you got to see. Way more than spring migration here in central Florida.

Jeff said...

Oddly, migration here hasn't been good either until just recently.

Frank said...

A super selection Jeff ... this brought back fond memories of a trip to this area some years ago.
Sorry to hear about the camera problems .. hope it's not to expensive to sort out.

Jeff said...

Got a new camera body for just $200,Frank, so should be okay now. Of course, migration is almost over.

Jeff said...

Got a new camera body for just $200,Frank, so should be okay now. Of course, migration is almost over.