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Posts Tagged ‘Setophaga coronata’

This Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) seemed to be celebrating the fact that it had snagged one of the few remaining poison ivy berries when I spotted him in mid-November at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I decided not to crop this image too closely because I like the way that the autumn leaves and the gumtree seedpods provide a real sense of the environment in which I found this beautiful little bird.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The remaining leaves on the trees and other vegetation complicate my efforts to get clear shots of the numerous Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) that I have seen and heard during my recent trips to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. On Monday, however, I manage to capture two images of these colorful little birds, the only warblers that stay with us throughout the winter.

It is always a delight to catch sight of the colorful patches of yellow feathers on these birds. The second image shows the yellow rump that is responsible for the name of this species that is affectionately known to birdwatchers as “butterbutts.”

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I spotted Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) multiple times.  However, there is a huge difference between getting a glimpse and getting a shot of one of these hyperactive little birds, particularly when many of the trees still have their leaves.

I captured the first image when one of the warblers was feasting on clusters of poison ivy berries. I definitely was not complaining when he did not offer to share his “treats.” I was surprised to learn several years ago that these berries are a primary food source for a number of small birds during the winter months.

In the second image, I believe the warbler was getting ready to move to a new perch or may have just arrived at this one. In either case, I think it looks pretty cool to see the one wing partially extended.

The composition of the final photo is the simplest—it is just a shot of the perched warbler. However, I really like the way that some of the foliage shows through in the blurry background. You may have noted that the backgrounds are light-colored. On the day when I took these shots, the skies were completely overcast and appeared to be a solid white.

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It is warbler season now where I live. This can be a frustrating time of the year for me, because the arrival of these colorful migrating birds coincides with the re-leafing of the trees. I can hear the warblers and occasionally get a glimpse of their bright colors through the leaves, but it is rare for me to get a clear shot of one.

Yesterday, I was thrilled to capture this image of a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I started to track this bird as it was moving about in the foliage and was fortunate to be ready when it paused for a split second in the open. I did not plan this particular composition, but it worked out really nicely with the shapes of the branches on the right side of the image and the mostly out of focus leaves on the left.

This image speaks of spring to me. Happy Spring to those in the Northern Hemisphere and hopefully those experiencing autumn in the Southern Hemisphere will also enjoy the bright springtime colors.

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) have returned in force to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. There are still lots of leaves on the trees, though, so it is a real challenge to get unobstructed shots of them. I catch sight of them moving in and out of the foliage, but only rarely do they pop out into the open. So I patiently watch and wait.

Here are pretty clear views of Yellow-rumped Warblers that I eventually managed to capture on Wednesday. Most warblers are in our area only briefly as they make their way north in the spring and south in the autumn. Yellow-rumped Warblers, however, remain with us for much of the winter, so I may have more chances to see them better as the trees gradually give up their leaves.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The colorful fall foliage has mostly disappeared and the natural world seems increasingly drab. At this time of the year, even tiny touches of bright colors are welcome, like the patches of yellow feathers on this Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) that I spotted recently at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

On many of the Yellow-rumped Warblers that I see, the yellow markings seem pale and faded. I was really struck, though, by the intensity and saturation of the yellow on this particular bird. Yellow is one of those colors that never fails to lift my spirits, even when delivered in tiny doses.

Yellow-rumped Warblers

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I spotted a small bird hanging from a branch, I zoomed in with my telephoto lens and discovered that it was a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata). I could also see that there were numerous clusters of poison ivy berries on the branch, so I waited to see if I could capture an image of the warbler grabbing a berry.

The warbler turned its head away from me when it pulled the berry from the cluster, but fortunately turned back in my direction with the berry still visible in its mouth. I was really happy to get the shot and the warbler seemed to be berry contented.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

yellow-rumped warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Leaves are now falling from the trees, making my walks though the woods increasingly crunchy. I feel like I am announcing my presence to all of the birds as I approach them. This little Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) lifted its head for a moment to check me out, then returned to its foraging among the fallen leaves, probably having decided that I did not represent a threat.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s sometimes said that the camera adds pounds to a subject, so maybe these Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) that I saw last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge are not quite as chubby as they appear at first glance.

I was trying to be funny, but it actually is true that the focal length of a lens can affect the features of a subject. Most of you have probably seen how a fish-eye lens can make a face look bloated in the middle and stretched out on the edges. Other lenses can produce less dramatic effects. Generally it is believed that you get the most flattering portrait of a human subject with a lens of 85mm to 135mm. Here’s a link to an interesting article at businessinsider.com that shows a series of images of a face that were shot with lenses from 20mm to 200mm.

In this case, I think the birds are taking advantage of the abundant food sources while they are still around. Some of these warblers may be continuing their journeys southward, but others may choose to spend part of the winter with us.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Are you a risk-taker? How often do you go out on a limb?

If you were a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) you literally would be doing it all of the time. I love the texture, color, and shape of the branch so much that this image is as much about the branch as it is about the bird—that is the primary reason why I did not crop the image any closer.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Sometimes it is better to be lucky and to react quickly than it is to be skillful and systematic. As I was tracking a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) recently at Occoquan Bay Wildlife Refuge, it suddenly took off.

In and of itself, this was not unusual, because these small birds are in almost constant motion, weaving their way in and out of the vegetation. Instinctively I snapped off a short burst of shots. I thought I had missed the shot and the empty frames at the end of the sequence indeed showed that I was a bit late in reacting.

However, one of the initial shots was this fun image that shows the warbler raising its wings to prepare to provide propulsion while its feet are still attached to the branch. I was shooting in aperture-preferred mode, which meant that the camera chose the shutter speed. There was enough light that the shutter speed of 1/1600 froze most, but not all, of the bird’s motion.

Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to take off into the air like this little warbler, free to fly off to new destinations in search of new adventures?

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) eat mostly insects in the summer, but when the weather gets colder they switch to seeds and berries. This past week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge I captured a number of shots of Yellow-rumped Warblers as they munched on what I think are poison ivy berries.

In the past, I have seen birds eating these berries only during the coldest days of the winter, leading me to think they were the only available food source. Who knows, maybe poison ivy berries are a real delicacy—though I am not will to try them to see if that is true.

 

 

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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At this time of the year Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) are probably the most numerous warblers in our area. You can often seem them in constant motion flitting about high in the trees. They rarely stay still for more than a moment and it is unusual to get a clear view of the entire body of one.

I have spent a lot of time this week patiently tracking these little birds at several locations at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife  Refuge and managed to get a few shots that I really like. The first image shows a Yellow-rumped Warbler perched at ground level on the trunk of a tree that had fallen across the road and had been cut up and moved to the side. I particularly like that it shows the tiny feet of this bird that is about 5 inches in length (13 cm). The little yellow streaks just under the wings help to identify this as a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

The second image, possibly my favorite, shows the yellow patch on the bird’s rump that is responsible for its name. The intense focus of the warbler as it looks upward help to give this image a dynamic element that is absent in many images of perched birds.

The final image has a studio-like feel to it, because the sky was completely overcast and turned white as I was processing the image. I had tracked the bird when it entered into the vegetation and managed to get this shot when it finally popped up at the top of the tree and stretched its neck to look around.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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“You look like an angel…” I am not sure what was so special about that particular spot on that specific tree, but this Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) used all of its aerial and acrobatic skills to peck away at it on Monday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. From what I could tell, the warbler held on to the branch with its feet and used its outspread wings for balance. In the second image, it looks like the warbler was using a pendulum-like motion to generate momentum.

The bird’s body positions remind me of artistic portrays of angelic beings that I have a seen in multiple museums and books and I felt blessed to have had the chance to see this relatively common bird in an unusual way.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I often wonder about the origins of the names of some species, but it’s pretty obvious why this particular bird is called a Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata). It is pretty hard to miss that posterior patch of bright yellow feathers, which leads some birders to affectionately call the bird a “butter butt.”

As I was tracking the bird through the vegetation, it came out into the open briefly, but turned away from me, and giving me a view of its underside. I find it fascinating to view a bird from multiple angles, but I must confess that I would have had trouble identifying the bird if this had been the only view that I had been able to capture.

Some of you may have noticed that I have been doing most of my photo treks these past few months in Occoquan Bay National Wildlife  Refuge. In this case, however, I spotted the warbler at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge last Friday, because I was checking to see if any dragonflies had emerged yet. There were none to be seen, but I am going out today, a week later, to search again for them. The weather is supposed to soar today to 80 degrees (27 degrees C), which is much more hospitable to dragonflies than the near-freezing levels that we had earlier in the week.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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One of my fellow bloggers, Jodi of The Creative Life In Between, saw a recent photo I took of a Yellow-rumped Warbler and asked if I minded if she used it for inspiration for a painting. Check out the wonderful watercolor she painted and the other cool postings on her blog.  Thanks, Jodi.

the creative life in between

Yellow (rumped) Warbler in Winter Watercolor 11×14 140 lb cold press

A Winter Warbler Watercolor

I was looking at some beautiful photos on Mike Powell’s Photography Blog the other day of a fluffy little yellow-rumped warbler he spotted eating berries in the frigid winter weather at the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Reserve in Virginia this month.

He was so cute, I asked Mike if I could paint one of his photos.  He kindly obliged.  My watercolor doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the bird or the magnificent shot Mike caught, but it was fun to do.  It’s been a while since I painted a bird.  And this little guy had his fluffiest coat on in the frigid temperatures we’ve been experiencing in the Northeast part of the United States lately, which made him just too irresistible for me to resist.

Thanks for giving me a shot at him Mike…

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A Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) really seemed to be enjoying the poison ivy berries that it managed to find on a frigid morning earlier this month at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

This little bird was so focused on finding food that it was not disturbed by my presence, which allowed me to capture a series of images.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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It was cold and windy on Christmas morning, but I nonetheless spent some time trekking about at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and captured this shot of a beautiful little Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata). One of my Facebook viewers has posited that the berries the warbler is eating are poison ivy, though I cannot confirm that identification.

In my church, Christmas day marks the beginning of the twelve days of Christmas (many of you may be familiar with the song), so I am continuing to think about Christmas. I am saddened each year when I see Christmas trees confined to the curb the day after Christmas—I am not ready to move on.

Merry Christmas to all and best wishes for a blessed new year.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Until I had a conversation with a birder last week, I never realized that Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) spend their winters in my area. Somehow I thought that they were merely passing through, migrating to some more distant southern location,

This past Friday, I spent quite a bit of time trying to get shots of some Yellow-rumped Warblers. Like the Golden-crowned Kinglet that I featured yesterday, these little birds seemed to spend most of their time hidden from me in the branches, periodically exposing a body part as if to tease me.

Here are a couple of my favorite shots of the day. I never did manage to get very close, but I like the way that the fall foliage helps to establish an environmental backdrop to the images.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I am not sure why, but I have seen more warblers this autumn that I have ever seen before. In past years they always remained elusive, hidden behind the foliage, heard but not seen. This year I have seen them, especially Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata) at several locations and on several occasions.

Here are several of my favorite warbler shots from this past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park. The first image, my favorite, is one of those lucky shots that occur when a bird takes off just as I press the camera’s shutter button. Normally that results in a bird that is out of focus or partially out of the frame, but this bird took off slowly and in a direction parallel to where I was focusing. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than to be good.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

 

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It was cool, wet, and a little breezy yesterday, not exactly a perfect day for photography, but I made a trip anyways to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  My persistence was rewarded when I was able to capture some images of several cute little Yellow-rumped Warblers (Setophaga coronata).

When it comes to warblers, I generally have two big problems. Warblers seem to like to perch in the center of clusters of branches and it is often virtually impossible to get unobstructed shots of them. Even if I am able to get a clear shot, I am faced with the equally daunting challenge of identifying the bird. There appear to be a large number of warblers with similar patterns and colors and there are innumerable variations based on season, age, gender, and region.

I was pretty confident that the birds in these images were Yellow-rumped Warblers, but for reassurance I checked with some experts on a Facebook birding forum. One of them humorously noted that this bird is often informally referred to as “Butterbutt.”

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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Periodically I’d catch a glimpse of a warbler in the trees of Huntley Meadows Park last Friday, but they mostly remained hidden deep within the branches. This Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata), however, ventured out of the shadows just enough that I was able to get this long-distance shot of it.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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