Saturday, June 9, 2012

Yellow Birds of Pennsylvania

I went to Pennsylvania this summer with high hopes and expectations for some great birding. There were lots of new birds to see, and lots of old birds to see better. The Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat certainly fall into the second category. They're both pretty common in Arizona, but I have found that it is much more difficult to get clear, unobscured looks at these birds in their Arizona habitats.

They're even more common in Pennsylvania, and here in the West Chester area they are much more brazen, much more conspicuous. Of course, they're Warblers, and Warblers seldom take it easy on photographers. But the opportunities are better and more numerous here. Finally I came away with a decent shot of a Yellow Warbler.


The difference between Arizona and Pennsylvania Yellowthroats is especially noticeable. The Common Yellowthroats in Arizona live in the thick reeds along water features and seldom come out in the open. Although not in huge numbers, they do breed and nest in the state. I have never seen them really displaying, singing, or socializing. It's all shadows and secrecy in AZ.


In Pennsylvania, I checked out Stroud Preserve, Ridley Creek State Park, and Exton Park, three great preserves in the West Chester area. At every single one of these sites, I've been privileged to see Yellowthroats perched and singing up in the trees, foraging out in the open and moving with much more publicity than in Arizona. My photos are still a bit hampered by the continually overcast weather, but I do appreciate the lower temperatures.


I really like Common Yellowthroats. They look like Tweety Bird from those old Loony Tunes combined with Zorro.


The Warblers aren't the only yellow birds I've been enjoying lately. This spring has already afforded me great looks at Bullock's and Hooded Orioles in Arizona, and now I've had a chance to see the eastern varieties too.

The male Baltimore Oriole is a beautiful thing. Given the haziness in this shot, you may just have to take my word for it. Hopefully, you've seen a few of your own!



The Orchard Oriole is the comparably drab cousin of the Baltimore Oriole. Their orange is a more unique, rusty coloration, but this sets them apart and, for my money, makes them one of the most interesting and beautiful Orioles in the group. Unfortunately I have not seen any mature males. A first-year, along with this lovely female, have sufficed.


Like Marsh Wrens, Yellowthroats, Song Sparrows, and other birds that prefer tall grasses and reeds, the Orchard Oriole is pretty flexible.


*Update: The morning I scheduled this to post, I saw a male Orchard Oriole too. Although this male, like the Baltimore, makes this post less yellow, it seems appropriate to include him here too:


Birding in southeast Pennsylvania is mellow, and there is plenty of yellow. Both of these characteristics suit me just fine!

12 comments:

  1. Love your mellow yellow views Laurence! Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Debbie. They sure mellowed me out.

      Delete
  2. Glad you were able to get some great shots of your targets... I swear our yellowthroats have been especially secretive this year, it's getting annoying! Anyway, nice post, jealous of your male orioles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree! I hate when bird's don't let me know what they're doing all the time and give me great, clear, well-lit poses. It's very inconsiderate.

      I'm jealous of the male Orioles too. They've got straight-up swagger and for good reason. I guess it'd make me look like an oddly proportioned oompa-loompa, but I would like to be various shades of orange for a day.

      Thanks for stopping by Jen, always a pleasure.

      Delete
    2. Wow, love the yellows Laurence!

      Delete
    3. I'm glad it's not an overload. Now I can move on to another color : )

      Delete
  3. Great shots Laurence! Looks like your trip has been packed tight with some great birding! That is a great shot of the Yellowthroat out in the open! Happy anniversary also!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tammy. I was pleased to see the Yellowthroats so exposed. Its not perfect, but definitely a great improvement for me.

      Delete
  4. Really nice!!! We saw so many Orioles as well....not the Orchard....but definitely the Baltimores:) And great shot of the yellow warbler!! They are tricky little buggers to get on screen. One interesting note. I noticed that the Orioles came to visit our little town sometimes as compared to my Grandma's forested home. They were found all over around her wooded area. And I found them loving the woods near open prairie land which I thought was interesting. Definitely beautiful birds to have around.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Chris.

      Yeah the Orioles really seem to like the liminal spaces. They nest in the taller, more full trees, but seem like like foraging in a bit more space. I guess there are a lot more bugs, and easier to find, in the open areas, but then the Orioles are never far from cover or from their young.
      I observed the same behavior with lots of the Orioles here. They'd nest in the woods and then swoop back and forth between their big trees and the grasslands next door.

      I'm glad they come down too because it's pretty difficult to get an unobscured or in-focus shot of them when they're way up high in a very leafy tree.

      Delete
  5. These are really great shots of some gorgeous birds of my home state Laurence. PA has some very pretty birds. The ones you have in AZ are so different than the ones we have! Have a great week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes indeed! PA does have some brilliant birds. Arizona does too, and the differences by region are part of what make birding so alluring. It's also a lot of fun to see birds like the Yellow Warbler and Common Yellowthroat in PA, where they behave differently than in Arizona.

      I hope you have a great week as well.

      Delete