Friday, May 09, 2014
Big Warbler Wave!
Along with a change in the wind direction came a flood of neotropical migratory birds. More than ever, Pheasant Branch Conservancy has become a premier destination for those seeking great views of warblers, flycatchers, tanagers, orioles, vireos, and other spring birds as they move into southern Wisconsin. Yesterday was a pretty exciting morning of birding with 22 warbler species that included a Prothonotary Warbler, Cape May Warbler, and Bay-breasted Warbler. Late afternoon I received a text from Jesse Peterson that there was a White-eyed Vireo at the creek corridor. I still had an hour left at work, but good fortune and help from birding friends enabled me to see the bird. I think it's been close to a decade the last time I've observed this particular species at the conservancy.
Using my Swarovski DCB II adapter along with my Nikon 1 18.5mm lens gives me faster shutter speeds, but less overall focal length. I can't get quite as much reach for tight portraiture, but it does give me a little more compositional room to work with. While it's possible to increase the spotting scope's ocular zoom, I kept it at 25x for all of these shots.
I heard from a friend that this Prothonotary Warbler was much more accommodating later on in the day giving photographers a great opportunity for close-up portraits of the feathered golden jewel. You'll note that this bird has the same stained feathers above its bill that I wrote about last year. It's not a plumage feature, but discoloration from the bird's probing foraging behavior.
I love this next shot in how it shows the dramatic blending of color from the bird's golden-yellow head, the olive-green back, and then the blue-gray wing feathers. Perhaps there will be an opportunity for obtaining more striking portraiture of prothonotaries yet this spring, but I'm just happy I got to see one at the conservancy once again.
We still have yet to see if the creek corridor's Great Horned Owls have young. This puzzle could easily be solved by going there after sunset, but I've been getting up so early I've been too tired to confirm. My hunch is that any day we're going to see fuzzy heads peering out from the tree cavity!
Great Horned Owl
Pheasant Branch, Dane, US-WI
May 8, 2014 5:30 AM - 9:00 AM
Great Horned Owl
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
All images © 2014 Mike McDowell