Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Island Warblers

A dirt road ran behind the camp and across the way was an abandoned farm, the land now owned by the owner of Bass Creek Resort. Besides a decaying house, barn and rusted pieces of old farm machinery, there was a creek through the property, long lines of log fencing and large patches of dogwood bushes. This was a birder's paradise.

American Redstart (male)

If you stood still for thirty seconds you would be sure to see a new warbler moving in the leaves of the trees and bushes. I nearly made myself crazy trying to get pictures, and then decided to spend most of my time with the binoculars instead.

Common Yellowthroat (male)

There are so many yellowish warblers! I had to keep my field guide handy as I tried to identify them. In a recent post, Larry admitted it was difficult for him to identify some warblers, so I felt I could risk some errors here. Here are a few pictures with the ID's I felt were best. Please correct me if I am mistaken.

Yellow Warbler

I still have a number of fuzzy or backlit photos to try and identify. I have pictures of at least two kinds of flycatchers and may never determine what they are for sure. I saw many new birds, but was also surprised by the birds I did not see. Cardinals and chickadees were nowhere to be found. I did not realize that cardinals have moved north to southern Ontario fairly recently and they are not found on Manitoulin Island.

Chestnut-sided Warbler (thanks Larry and Tom)

Our Rose of Sharon shrub in our yard did not survive the winter. I think I will replace it with dogwood as it seemed to be a bird magnet up here. The flowers, berries and red branches are lovely to look at.
Warblers are like jewels, an unexpected blur of bright colour and a sweet sound in the trees. I will have to study them over the winter and try to identify more that are peeking through the leaves on the island next year.


  1. I've been thinking of planting a dogwood next spring too. I'm always looking for ways to draw birds into my backyard. Your photos are great. I understand about putting the camera down. Sometimes I feel like my camera gets in the way, distances me from the birds around me.

  2. Hi Ruth,

    I, too, understand the frustration with the camera. I've been leaving it docked inside frequently, too, so I can enjoy looking and not focusing.

    We lost a year-old Japanese Willow this summer - don't know why, but I like the idea you suggested of planting a Dogwood. We'll consider that in October.

    Good photos, Ruth! When you have your camera, you know how to zero in on those birds!

  3. I actually don't like taking photos because it gets in the way of just observing.-Very nice photos that you took-The bottom one seems like to have an awful lot of yellow on the head-I would be unsure of that one and seek another opinion.-

  4. I've only ever seen the Pine Warbler and the Yellow-rumped, so I'd be stumped too Ruth! Sounds like a lovely place to bird.

  5. I'm thinking Chestnut-sided Warbler, but if you don't mind-I'd like to run the photo past someone to be sure-thanks-

  6. Lynne- I cleared a spot for a dogwood in my garden last night. My camera has a shutter delay of that is enough to make me miss shots I would get with a faster camera. I don't want to carry a huge camera and lens though. I enjoyed birding with the binoculars far more and had to use my brain to remember details.

    Mary- Whatever you plant, just make sure it has good berries and good foliage for birds to hide in. I have no idea what the climate range for dogwood bushes is.

    Larry- Thanks for helping with the ID on such a poor picture. That last warbler looked very yellow- greenish and I thought it might be a black-throated green warbler. But it didn't fit 100% either.

    Jayne- Warblers don't frequent feeders and make you do leg work to find them. The best time to see them is before the leaves come out, but that is such a short season.

  7. Anonymous8:32 am GMT-4

    I agree with Larry, my first though was Chestnut-sided Warbler!! Great series of pictures of these warblers and looks like a great spot for sure!

  8. Tom and Larry- Thanks. I looked up the Chestnut-sided Warbler in the 3 books I have at home. One book said, "Immatures are usually without chestnut marks but can be told by their bright green backs..."
    That is what I saw.

  9. Tom looks at Warblers from 2 inches away-that's good enough for me.-That's good that you went back and checked the books-This place that you went looks like a great spot, and would make for a great painting too!


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