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Posts Tagged ‘Protonotaria citrea’

I was both shocked and delighted to spot this brilliant male Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) on Monday during a trip to Huntley Meadows Park, a local marshland refuge. All of the other times that previously I spotted these colorful little birds were during the early spring and I did not know that they were still around in our area.

It is hard for a bird so brightly colored to hide itself completely, but I am used to seeing only flashes of yellow amidst the foliage high in the trees. In this case I spotted the warbler when it was perched on a wooden fence. As I got a little closer, it dropped down to ground level, but I was able to find a small visual tunnel that gave me an unobstructed view of this beautiful little warbler and was able to capture this image.

Prothonotary Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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Most of the warblers that I am fortunate enough to see are partially hidden by branches. Although hope is usually not an effective technique for taking photos, essentially that is what I do when I spot a hidden warbler—I start shooting and hope that the little bird will reveal itself enough for me to capture a clear shot of at least its head.

That was the case on Friday when I shot numerous photos in an attempt to capture an image of this Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) at Occoquan Bay Naational Wildlife Refuge. Unlike many warblers that are found bushes and in trees in more open area, Prothonotary Warblers are creatures of the swamp. I initially spotted one of these beautiful birds in a marshy area and was thrilled when one of them eventually made its way into some vegetation overlooking the water.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Prothonotary Warbler got its name from the bright yellow robes worn by papal clerks, known as prothonotaries, in the Roman Catholic church. This background information is fascinating, though I must confess that it is hard to find an opportunity to inject the word “prothonotary” into an everyday conversation unless I am talking about this bright yellow bird.

Prothonotary Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Most warblers seem to have some yellow on their bodies, but I had never before seen one with as much yellow as the Prothonotary Warbler (Protonotaria citrea) that I spotted on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. The yellow coloration helped me in tracking the bird, although it stayed high in a tree and was in almost constant motion. Now that there are leaves on many of the trees, I’m finding it to be harder and harder to get unobstructed shots of birds.

I will definitely be trying to get some more shots of this spectacular bird, hopefully in the near future.

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

Prothonotary Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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