Sunday, September 18, 2011

Townsend's Warbler

This Townsend's was one of many warblers bobbing about in a group of shady trees at Encanto Park. Even from a distance and with the naked eye, it was still striking to see and obviously not like the other more ubiquitous, dull yellow birds. The Townsend's Warblers spend their spring and summer in the Pacific Northwest, and then winter in Mexico. Apparently they commonly stop in Arizona as a part of their migratory route, but this was the first I'd seen. Since it's a brief, seasonal occurrence, and I don't visit the Pacific Northwest too often, it may also be one of only a few opportunities to ever see the Townsend's. These warblers have their fall plumage in full, so they lack the black chin and their black on their face and head is not quite as dark, but I'm certainly not complaining. The black will fill in come spring time when they go a courtin'.
It's nice to have lots of contrast on a warbler, with the black, yellow, and white all making for distinct markings. It's hard enough to get a clear picture of a Warbler, and more aggravating still to get a decent image and then still be unable to identify it.
The Mexican Bird of Paradise makes for a really nice background here. The soft aqua-green with flashes of red and orange are colors to be appreciated in their own right, and the little oval leaves are so delicately attached as they fan out in search of sunlight. I wonder if bird's appreciate their perches in such a way, or if they only see them from a utilitarian perspective. I guess they choose mates often based on their beauty, be it in plumage or song. Maybe it crosses their mind as the most fleeting thought while they continue the search for small edible bugs.

I love the yellow frame here around the bird's face. It looks like a crazy cool pair of eyebrows and mutton chops such as you'd only see on a late 19th century British Prime Minister named Townsend.

These first photos were taken 09/18/2011 at the Encanto Park in Central Phoenix, AZ.
This is the first Townsend's Warbler I've seen, though the number may increase now that I know when and where to look.


  1. Laurence, your photography is getting better and better. I especially like that second photo.
    I'm going to look up Townsend warblers.

  2. Thank you! Warblers are nice subjects in that they're pretty impervious to a human presence. They'll keep on buzzing about without any worries. However, the problem is they keep buzzing about. Getting a Warbler in focus is super challenging. I'm glad that some of the intricate colors of this bird came across.