Earlier this month, I spent a week at the Black Swamp Bird Observatory's Biggest Week in Birding. It is a huge festival with lots of birders and a wide variety of birds. The main draw is arguably the warblers. There were few south winds to bring in birds, but the results were still good. Here are a few of the images that I made.
While much of the breeding displays are by birds on their way north to Canada, there are local birds that can be observed. This pair of Downy Woodpeckers were among the many woodpeckers seen displaying, breeding and excavating nest holes.
Downy Woodpecker mating
On a nature trail near the hotel, I observed this Downy preparing a cavity. I am always impressed with how perfectly round they make the hole.
Another delightful bird is the Wood Thrush who sings a flute-like melody.
Wood Thrush in song
And, the open marshlands are rich with Red-winged Blackbirds, both male and female.
Male Red-winged Blackbird
Foraging female Red-winged Blackbird
However, warblers are really the biggest show at the festival, and there are some more that I really enjoy finding - Palm, Yellow and Prothonotary.
I felt lucky to finally capture that quick leap to the next branch. They are really fast.
Leaping to the next branch
Birders get really excited when a report comes along of a Prothonotary Warbler anywhere in the main marsh. On one marsh trail, there were easily fifty people clustered to see a pair of them. Seems silly. Surprisingly, the birds are pretty tolerant, perhaps due to the rich food present.
But, there are quieter places to search out. On the last morning, we went to a little used nature trail by the hotel, and had this single male Prothonotary pop up into sight. There were only four people present.
The same nature trail had a great number of nest boxes, and in one there was this little Screech Owl catching some warm sunlight before sunset.
Hope you've enjoyed these images.