Sunday, November 25, 2012

Barber Park Warblers

On Thanksgiving morning I headed out to do my daily bird count around the neighborhood. The weather was very nice but the wind was up so there were not as many duck sightings as I would have liked. I figured I would head over to Barber Park since I haven't been in a long time and on rare occasions a duck or stray goose shows up. Nothing in the front pond except the local Mallards, Muscovy, and White Ibis today.

I almost left just then but thought that maybe I should check the plants and trees across the parking lot just because. Glad I did because it lead to nearly an hour of warblers and other birds. I thought I would be able to get a shot of one of the Palm Warblers on the lawn but I was pleasantly surprised that one of my best subjects of the morning was this Myrtle Warbler.

Myrtle Warbler

While other birds fled my advance on a stand of shrubby trees in a marshy area, this Myrtle Warbler (commonly called Yellow-rumps) paid me little attention as it hopped and gleaned its way around the ground and branches. It mainly stayed in the shade but I did get a shot in a small circle of sunlight.

Myrtle Warbler

This is a nice example of an adult male in Winter plumage. The bright yellow crown feathers are peeking through nicely and you can even see dark spots around the bird's brow. Females don't have those.

Myrtle Warbler

Even as he fed in the shade I was pleased to get some nice shots when he would stop for a couple seconds every now and then.

Myrtle Warbler

A beautiful warbler. Too bad we only get to see a few in Spring that reach their full colorful plumage molt before they fly back North.

Myrtle Warbler

I followed the path of several warblers that were heading out from the lot area and appeared to be heading toward Lake Barber on the other side of the soccer fields. In the trees near the lake there were dozens and dozens of Myrtle and Palm Warblers. I was also happy to see several Orange-crowned Warblers feeding, too. I get to hold them but rarely get natural photos of them.

Orange-crowned Warbler

Besides the large amount of feeding small birds in the trees, there were many larger birds in the sky. Sharp-shinned and Cooper's Hawks, Black and Turkey Vultures, many migrating Ring-billed Gulls, and few Bald Eagles took advantage of the strong winds.

Bald Eagle

I took a few minutes to ignore the warblers so I could try for a shot of this Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Turned out pretty well, no? I only saw a couple of them in this area.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Nearby, the Western Palm Warblers were a little more secure feeding here than over on the lawn. Easy for them to duck back into the bushes if needed. Every now and then they would sit out in the sunlight to strike a pose.

Western Palm Warbler

I probably like this shot better but there were so many to choose from today.

Western Palm Warbler

Soon, the birds seemed a bit sated and they settled into the leaves for some rest and I headed home. I will have to head back again soon. After all, it is in my Breeding Bird Atlas block so I will have to do more research over the next few years.

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