migration

Prothonotary Warblers During Spring Migration by Todd Henson

Male Prothonotary Warbler looking over shoulder

One of the warbler species that shows up locally during the spring migration period is the Prothonotary Warbler. These warblers prefer wooded swamps and have been given the nickname “Golden Swamp Warbler.” This particular specimen was found in exactly that type of environment, along a trail through a wooded swamp in a local wildlife refuge. The trail leads from the swamp to a point where two rivers comes together. Prothonotaries are so common in this location it has become known as Prothonotary Point.

The day I captured these images I was hiking with some photography friends looking for migrating warblers. In previous posts I showed images of Palm Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers of the Mrytle variety, all photographed during the same hike in different parts of the refuge.

The male Prothonotary Warbler in these images was very cooperative, perching in a tree just above the trail. It stayed for longer than I would have expected, periodically breaking out in song. I captured many images, but most of them were almost identical as it stayed perched in the same location. I was hesitant to move around too much because I didn’t want to scare it away.

Singing male Prothonotary Warbler, with light illuminating its pupil.

My favorite of the photos is the one showing the bird in song. I like it not just for the open beak, but also because the angle of the sun lights up the Prothonotary’s eyes, letting you see his pupils if you look closely enough. I found the circularly curved small branches very interesting, as well, how they circled around the bird, framing it.

See my Field Notes page on Prothonotary Warblers for more photographs of this beautiful warbler.

Resources

The links below are affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

If you’d like to learn more about Prothonotary Warblers, or any other warbler species, check out A Field Guide to Warblers of North America, one of the Peterson Field Guides. It’s over 650 pages, all devoted to warblers.

Or, if you’d like a more general field guide to birds look at the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. This is my favorite birding field guide. Another great one is the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America. See my Resources page for more info on the field guides I use.

Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warblers During Spring Migration by Todd Henson

Yellow-rumped Warbler of the Myrtle variety. Notice the white throat. You can also see the 2 yellow patches on either side of its breast.

Yellow-rumped Warblers are a common spring migrant as they move north to build nests and breed. We found a group of them in a local wildlife refuge along the same trail as the Palm Warblers I recently wrote about. The trail was a dirt road separating a small wooded area and a grassy/bushy area. The Yellow-rumped Warblers, along with the Palm Warblers, were flying back and forth between the trees and the bushes and grassland.

Yellow-rumped Warbler facing forward, giving a good view of its white throat and the yellow patches either side of its breast.

The Yellow-rumped Warblers in these photographs are of the Myrtle variety, which is more common along the eastern United States. The Audubon variety is more common in the west. One way of telling them apart, at least when they are distinct species and not in the band where they intermingle, is the color of their throat. Myrtle Warblers typically have a white throat, whereas Audubon Warblers typically have a yellow one.

Yellow-rumped Warbler looking down, showing off the yellow stripe on top of its head.

If you look at each of the photos you’ll also see the 4 patches of yellow commonly found on Yellow-rumped Warblers. Their name comes from the yellow patch on their rump, but they also have a small patch of yellow on the top of their head, and a patch on either side of the breast.

Backside of a Yellow-rumped Warbler, showing its namesake yellow rump. Also notice it is tilting its head to the left showing off the yellow stripe on top.

These were, perhaps, the first Yellow-rumped Warblers that I photographed. They are an attractive bird and I look forward to creating better photographs of them in the years ahead.


Resources

The links below are affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

If you’d like to learn more about Yellow-rumped Warblers, or any other warbler species, check out A Field Guide to Warblers of North America, one of the Peterson Field Guides. It’s over 650 pages, all devoted to warblers.

Or, if you’d like a more general field guide to birds look at the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. This is my favorite birding field guide. Another great one is the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America. See my Resources page for more info on the field guides I use.

Palm Warblers During Spring Migration by Todd Henson

Palm Warbler facing forward. Notice the coloration and patterns of its breast feathers, as well as the chestnut colored crown at the top of its head.

I was recently hiking through a local wildlife refuge with some fellow photographers looking for spring migrants, particularly warblers. One of the species that made a good showing that day were Palm Warblers. This was my first opportunity photographing this species, which we typically only see here in the Mid-Atlantic region during its migration to more northerly locales.

We found the Palm Warblers along a trail that separated a more forested area from an area of bushes and grassland. The warblers were in the trees, or at times flying back and forth between the trees and the fields. They really are an attractive species, especially with their spring breeding plumage, which includes a chestnut colored crown on the top of their head. This made it very easy to identify them.

A side view of a Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler tilting its head while posing on a tree branch

I very much hope for the opportunity to photograph Palm Warblers again.


Resources

The links below are affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

If you’d like to learn more about Palm Warblers, or any other warbler species, check out A Field Guide to Warblers of North America, one of the Peterson Field Guides. It’s over 650 pages, all devoted to warblers.

Or, if you’d like a more general field guide to birds look at the Peterson Field Guide to Birds of North America. This is my favorite birding field guide. Another great one is the Kaufman Field Guide to Birds of North America. See my Resources page for more info on the field guides I use.