Monday, May 10, 2010
Dottie Johnson's keen hearing picked up on a Hooded Warbler's alternate song amidst the layers of morning songsters at Pheasant Branch Conservancy today. So close to the trail, I was hopeful to finally have a decent opportunity to photograph a bird species I've sought for many years. Unfortunately, annoying disturbances would test my patience. I had the right bird and the right light - what could go possibly wrong? After jockeying around with my spotting scope for a clear view of the warbler through dense vegetation, I was able to get a good angle on it through my camera's viewfinder. However, just as I began to press down on the shutter button, an airplane spraying for gypsy moths zoomed overhead – barely above the trees – sending the startled warbler to the understory. Once the spraying was over, a noisy riding lawnmower on Middleton High School's athletic fields kept the warbler quiet for several more minutes. Calm eventually returned to the woods and the bird began singing once again. He still kept low in the understory, so I wasn't able to get a fast enough shutter speed to freeze the action of his quivering body as he sang. Though not my best work, I think there's enough in these photographs to show just how beautiful a bird the Hooded Warbler truly is.
Hooded Warbler © Mike McDowell