Friday, February 15, 2013

Warbler Love

Yellow-throated Warbler
Warblers!  They can drive a birder mad!  Very tricky birds to spot.  Always in the shadows.  Never staying in one spot.
Wilson's Warbler
It's a constant workout for the birder.  They are not an easy spot like say a duck or a hawk or even a sparrow!  They are warblers.  They have certain times scheduled throughout the day and if you don't catch them at the right moment, forget it!
As I narrow my lifelist down, I find that I have to find several warblers:)  I groaned because it's not an easy task.  Plus I was getting lectures from birders.  "You haven't gone to see the Yellow-throated Warbler??!!!!  What's wrong with you??!!  The last time that bird was seen here was 17 years ago!!!"  So I walked the birder hall of shame.  For awhile.  I have a full time job and it's not easy matching up a Warbler's schedule with my own.  They are best seen in the morning.  And that's when I'm teaching.
Chestnut-sided Warbler
It then got me thinking.  Just how many warblers have I seen in my lifetime?  I went through my pics and was surprised at these little discoveries. Usually they just come my way and I take pics.  I don't like to go look for them.
For example, this is the Chestnut-sided Warbler.  It's a rare visitor in Tucson during the winter months.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time for this bird last year.  I had begun birding when I found this little warbler and had a hard time ID'ing it. Now I think....really? That's an easy one to ID.
Speaking of easy.  You don't even have to be a birder to be assaulted by this regular and common visitor.
 Acting more like a flycatcher, the Yellow-rumped Warbler invades Tucson over the winter months.
                                               They are easily seen and everywhere.
Yellow-rumped Warbler
But don't take their presence for granted as there are other warblers that can and will mix in with their posse.
Check out that rump!  Not bad!  But seriously.  Who in the world gave these birds their names??!!!  Rumps, Tits, Boobies and Dick...cissels.  When you tell non-birders these things, they just start laughing.  Heck even birders laugh when they say the names outloud!  The worst part for me is keeping a straight face when our most awesome and proper English speaking visitors come to the US and look for our American "Tits."  Of course they are referring to the Bushtits, and the Juniper and Bridled Titmouse.  And yet I cannot help but smile.  Such a lovely and proper English with a truly misunderstood word:)  Back to warblers.....:)
And common to the summer months is the Yellow Warbler.  Simple.  Pretty.  And a bit trickier to capture on the camera as this bird likes to be high up in the canopy of trees.  It does come down every once and awhile BUT can be very skittish. 
Yellow Warbler
One would think Yellow would be easy to see.  It's not. 
Whenever I see this warbler, I marvel at the truly simple design of this bird.
Once in awhile you'll catch the warblers taking a bath. Or out in the open.  Don't hesitate.  Take that pic!  You never know when another opportunity will arise.
Getting these birds to come out in the open is nearly impossible!
Take for example this Yellow-breasted Chat!  
Yellow-breasted Chat
Or the American Redstart!!!!! Mother of pearls is that one hard.
American Redstart
While sipping my coffee and reading a book, I heard the Painted Redstart's call and slowly prepped my camera. And waited.  Another very tricky little bird but the call is unmistakable and a heads up that the bird is in the area.
Painted Redstart
This next warbler is one tricky bird.  I never get the name right but it's the Black-throated Gray.  It took several hundreds of shots just to get this one!
Black-throated Gray Warbler
However for a warbler, it was much more cooperative than others.  I could predict the time it would come out and sat waiting for the bird to appear.  Snap. Snap.
While the warbler invasion happens, you have to look really really close because warblers all flock together. And at once.  This Townsend's made a brief appearance and just long enough for me to capture this lovely warbler on camera.
Townsend's Warbler
Another reliable and common warbler is the Orange-crowned Warbler.
Orange-crowned Warbler
It loves the low grasses and reeds.  They are vocal and at times can be easily seen around Tucson.

Plain, yet full of bouncy energy:)

And then there are the Common Yellowthroats which I think are not common at all:)  Look at the striking detail of the male below.
Common Yellowthroat
                                           The female is plainer but still a lovely little warbler.  
And that historic Yellow-throated Warbler?  Yes I was able to capture him on camera.  
He sat nicely on the palm frond for a few seconds before flying off.  So I'm out of the birder's Hall of Shame for now.  But I'm sure there will be more rarities that come our way this year.  Warblers make you work for that lifelist, but it's all worth it by the end of the day.  More coming soon.....


  1. a bevy of beauties. i've only had the yellow, wilson's and the 'butter butt' here.

  2. Nice selection of warblers. We have pine warblers here this time of the year. Yellow breast with lime colored back and wings. Similar to the yellow-throated and orange-crowned pictured here but a little more colorful. I think the yellow-rumped you've shown us is one of the prettiest birds I've seen. Wish we had those in my neighborhood.

  3. The warblers are beautiful! Great series of shots Chris!

  4. Oh Warblers...can't live with em' or without em'

    Great shots Chris

  5. Qué bonitos pajarillos.. Me encantan.. Feliz fin de semana..

  6. Chris, wonderful warbler post. Your photos are awesome. I would like to add the Orange Crowned Warbler to my group of warbler photos. They are hard to follow, sometimes you wish they would just sit and rest a bit. Have a great weekend and happy birding.

  7. I SO admire your dedication in getting these great shots - for me, a good bird shot is a bit hit and miss!!! I'm with you on the weird names as well - add to that a birdwatcher with binoculars looking for 'tits' and you've almost got an indictable offence!!!

  8. Your warblers are so colourful Chris - great photos and post :)

  9. What a wonderful collection of warblers Chris and really lovely photos too. You have so many different warblers over there. I notice they all seem to have the colour yellow in common!

    I had to smile at your mention of our tits....hmm that does sound rather questionable doesn't it? I know for a fact that I have had the odd, dodgy character come to my blog who must have been extremely disappointed to find photos of our Parus Major...if you look it up you will see by its common name that they were expecting something quite different when they did their Google search ;-)

  10. You did well to capture so many lovely warblers Cris:)Your photos are excellent, and I really can't pick a favourite.

    I have only ever seen a Garden and a March warbler, but their greenie brown plumage is not as colourful as some of the ones you show here. Love that striking yellow plumage!!

    A great post, one which made me smile too!!!

  11. Nice birdie captures. I love the little red one with it's wings so beautifully displayed.

  12. Your photos of the warblers going about their activities are interesting. I particularly like those of them in flight. You must have a creeping good time.

  13. Kreesh, they are all cute! How are you? I came in also to search and read again your Macchu Pichu climb! I sent it to my friend in FB.

  14. Great group of birdies, Chris.... I've enjoyed following you all week on Facebook also.

    Hope this is a great week for you.

  15. Hey Chris, we Brits don't get embarrassed about using the word "tit", I mean we used it for birds first and the Sun came later. As for your "birder hall of shame", I have been there too and don't worry about it because it's far better to be a bird watcher than a bird spotter.

    1. I agree. I never understood the "spot" and run thing. People just come to see the bird and leave. I want to observe as much as I can because isn't that the point of birdwatching?:) But I guess it's different for everyone. Still why put all that effort into finding the bird and not observe it? Recently we had this happen with the Hepatic Tanager. It was funny and yet...strange.

  16. You captured so many beautiful warblers Chris. Well done- I love them all!

  17. Hey Chris, at least you have some very colorful (yep, I even lapsed into the US spelling) warblers over there. most of ours fall into the category of LBJs (little brown jobs). Great post with some lovely images!

    By the way 'tits' is also the slang for mammary glands over here too, but we tend not to laugh when the various birds of that name (we have a number) are mentioned.

    I was once playing a gig when a girl came up to make a request with the image of a couple of birds on the front of her tee-shirt. Even as a bird-watcher, it took our drummer to point out to me that they were a pair of Great Tits - and they were!

    1. That is hilarious! She must have known what she was wearing:) They should have the expression, "Put a tit on it:)"

  18. Podziwiam Twoją miłość do ptaków i możliwość zobaczenia ich wielu. Pozdrawiam.
    I admire your love of birds and the opportunity to see so many of them. Yours.

  19. Incredible how many warblers you've pictured and so beautifully! I hear warblers sometimes but rarely see them.

  20. So many different kinds of warblers! I am fascinated by all you have seen and photographed!

    I have never eaten at the Blue Willow and several of you who commented said you love to eat there! I will definitely have to go!

  21. It seems to me Chris that you have a very extensive collection of varied warbler here, well done indeed, especially if as you say they don't stick around in one place for too long. they really are the sweetest little creatures, I must Google and see if we have something similar here in OZ.


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