Category Archives: Songbirds

Prothonotary Warblers In the Forest

The light was low and it was raining off and on as we made our way around the board walk over the swamp at Beidler Forest, a property managed by Audubon South Carolina. I heard a warbler calling way before I saw this bird and his mouthful of bugs.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

I was quite surprised he was so close to the boardwalk. He moved to different branches a few times, keeping a tight grip on his bug collection. After a couple minutes he flew out of my sight.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

Further on I spotted another Prothonotary Warbler bringing food to a nest in a Cypress Knee. It was even darker then and rain was about to fall in earnest.  The image is not great but you can get an idea of where these warblers rear their young.

Prothonotary Warbler at Nest
Prothonotary Warbler at Nest

Both of these birds were banded, part of a research project to study their migration.

Beidler is the world’s largest virgin cypress-tupelo swamp forest — a pristine ecosystem untouched for millennia.
Audubon South Carolina

Why Fly When You Can Hop

Ah, the Carolina Wren. a cute little bird everyone loves to see zipping around. This one was showing off his hopping skill.

Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren

This one has something, probably a bug, in his beak and he is on a mission to take it somewhere.

Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren

He hopped all along our back fence before flying off into the woods.

Carolina Wren
Carolina Wren

The Carolina Wren has been a photography nemesis for me. The very first time I got out of the car at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens there were several perched jauntily on the pines in the parking lot, traveling up and down the rough bark that would have made an excellent background.

Excited to be near so much nature potential I thought I would have plenty of opportunities with this little bird so didn’t take any shots. I was in South Carolina, after all. Ha! Two years and many, many wren butts later these are the best images I’ve taken.

Prothonotary Warbler 2

The Prothonotary Warblers won’t be in our area long so I spent some time around the edges of the swamp looking for them earlier this week. They are fast in flight, like tree tops, and don’t stay in one place for long, making them a challenge to track and to photograph.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

This one must have liked the sun or the view because he stayed in this lichen covered branch for several minutes.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

In the inner branches is usually where that flash of yellow streaks by.

Prothonotary Warbler
Prothonotary Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler 2

The Yellow-rumped Warblers are elusive, raise the camera and zip, they are gone. Like most photographers of small birds I have plenty of shots of their “butter butts” disappearing into the underbrush.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

On occasion they land in a twig free zone, and may even flip directions in the same spot, providing multiple views.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

This one was a little puffed up to meet the cold of the day.

Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Bluebird Working Hard on a Snow Day

Most of the local birds had never seen snow. The birds have to work extra hard to keep fed now that the ground is covered and this Bluebird was having a tough time of it.

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird

The snow had fallen off the limbs leaving these seeds exposed, which was a good start.

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird

The chosen seed, however, just wouldn’t let go of its branch.

Eastern Bluebird
Bluebird

Sproing…and the seed was right back where it started. After a couple more tries the bird won.

Eastern Bluebird
Eastern Bluebird

Ted and I thought we left the snow and cold in New England. Not so. Yesterday was the third snowiest day on record in Charleston, SC  with just over 5 inches measured at the airport.  We had closer to 6 inches at our house.  Not much melted today and we are still being asked to stay at home by the authorities who are stretched to their limit. The really bad part is the cold, with prolonged temps below 20 F (-6 C) we are at risk for frozen pipes as our houses just weren’t built for this.

I suspect that the Bluebirds don’t like it either, but they are a day brightener!

Click on any photo for larger view.