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Posts Tagged ‘Magnolia Warbler’

During a short period in the spring and again in the early autumn, migrating warblers move through the area in which I live. Occasionally I will manage to get a shot of one during the spring, when the warblers are sporting their colorful breeding plumages. During the autumn, however, their plumage is duller in color and the leaves on the trees block them from view, so I rarely see a warbler (though I can hear them) and even less frequently photograph one.

On Tuesday during a visit to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, I spotted a flash of yellow high in a tree. Although I did not get a good look at the bird itself, I knew immediately that it was some kind of warbler. I focused on the area in which the bird moving about and watched and waited, snapping off shots whenever even the slightest bit of yellow was visible.

I never did get an unobstructed shot of the warbler, but different shots helped me to identify various features of the bird. In the first photo, for example, I can see the gray head and white eye ring. In the second and third images, I can see the extent of the yellow underparts, the white wing bars, and the moderate streaking.

What kind of warbler is it? I went through my bird identification guide—I use the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America—and decided that it was possibly a Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia). I was uncertain of my identification, though, so I sought confirmation on a birding forum on Facebook. Shockingly I was correct in my identification. I think I have about a 50 percent success rate in correctly identifying warblers and similar birds.

I would love to get clear unobstructed close-up shots of these beautiful birds as some photographers are able to do, but I am quite content with these shots. They highlight for me the beauty and mystery of the warbler in what I consider to be its natural habitat.

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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