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Posts Tagged ‘Yellow-rumped Warbler’

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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