Spring migration is slow this year in Maryland, but it hasn’t stopped me to keep trying to keep adding to the list for my Big Year.
Those who have been following me for a while have probably wondered why all of sudden tons of birds have appeared. Well, I must confess that as a novel birder, I had decided this year was going to be my big year in birding.
Granted, I should be traveling more to see a wider variety of birds, but I’ve been having great fun on these quiet adventure hunts for these amazingly beautiful birds that I never knew even existed. I’m also discovering some hidden nooks and crannies in my county that are natural treasures that I never would have known were there if it hadn’t been for the birds.
Since today has been pouring rain, I wanted to share with you some of the golden nuggets I found yesterday at Patuxent Ponds Park. I had heard of a Hooded Warbler, and I really wanted to get a good view of one. With my little iBird app on my iPhone, I began playing his song. Quickly responding, we began singing alternately. He came in for a view and fluttered around high in the trees. This was the best I could get.
In a stretch of lower scrub brush, I spent quite some time stalking several bird songs that were beautiful. I had heard that a Prairie Warbler was in the park, so I began playing his song. Quickly appearing and quite inquisitive, I was able to get some great views of this stunning migrator.
I’ve been finding White Eye Vireo in several places, and they just love to sing their hearts out.
I even was able to capture an Eastern Kingbird, which I had seen at the barn a couple of weeks ago. Once I found one, I thought it would be the only time I would see one. But I happily was able to enjoy this Kingbird who sat high on a tree after chasing off an American Crow.
But the real treasure for the day was this incredibly beautiful yellow Warbler known as the Prothonotary Warbler. This required extensive stalking of the marsh for a half an hour, playing ping pong songs with him. He finally drew in closer to see who was visiting. A brief moment, hand holding the 500mm lens, I was able to capture him through the trees.
These images were shot in misty conditions with my Canon 60D, and 500mm f/4.0 L IS lens. When I came home I thought all those little dust bits were just that dust. But after checking the lens today, I realized the bits are actually the mist. I’m not crazy about the Canon 60D when it comes to how it handles noise. The ISO setting for these images were 1000 and 1250. A little negative compensation exposure gave me faster shutter speeds.
Hope you enjoyed these little treasures as much as I do.