Sunday, April 11, 2010

Weekend Birding & Digiscoping

When it comes to digiscoping warblers, sometimes I wish all were as cooperative as the Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler. This sentiment is illusory, however. If it was just a single individual Yellow-rump, the challenge would likely be about the same as it is for most other warbler species, though they're typically far less abundant. But because there were literally hundreds of Yellow-rumps at Pheasant Branch Conservancy this morning, it would have been more surprising if I had left the field without a picture of one!

Ever since I began digiscoping in 2002, it's been something of a tradition of mine to try and obtain a top-notch portrait of a Yellow-rumped Warbler each spring. Well, after this morning it looks like I'm done until next year! Naturally, should a Yellow-rumped Warbler cross my lens any time throughout the remainder of spring migration, I'll still try and digiscope it.

As a nature photographer, it's a nice feeling to end the weekend with so many stunning images of birds and other things. There's a keen sense of accomplishment and satisfaction; it's the fix for the addiction. As a birder and dreamer, the sights I witnessed today will form mental imagery as I drift off to sleep tonight.

I'll probably think back to the American White Pelicans I saw flying over the drumlin, especially the turn. I'll recall the beautiful Osprey making its way northwest riding on thermals. Even now, if I close my eyes, I can still see Yellow-rumped Warblers sallying for flying insects over the creek corridor. If I concentrate, my imagination can render the sound of their bill snapping.

Red-bellied Woodpecker

Eastern Phoebe

Wood Duck (female)

Wood Duck (male)

Location: Pheasant Branch
Observation date: 4/11/10
Number of species: 60

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Northern Shoveler
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Pheasant
Common Loon
Pied-billed Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Barred Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Winter Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

All images © 2010 Mike McDowell


  1. Mike, your photos as usual are wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ok, now I see the rump. These are just fantastic pictures, Mike! Thanks for sharing them.

  3. Hey Mike -
    Ah the Butter Butts are back! Hundreds?! I am seething with jealousy. I remember seeing my first YRW a couple years ago in WI in April and can imagine Pheasant Branch right now ;) thanks for the warm Midwest images because I have yet to see any warblers out here on the East Coast. As usual your photography takes my breath away - congrats on a great shoot!