A Mellow Fellow

We are still in bonus time here at blog headquarters.  I was able to get my monthly quota in pretty quick this month thanks to a strong push out of the gate.  That means we get some extra time to focus on subjects that have already been featured in a previous post.  I’ve typed it once, I’ve typed it a hundred times, the greatest thing about being a birder photographer is every outing is like a new beginning.  Even if you have a bird in your gallery, you can always try to improve your image.  Better technical, more interesting posture or even unique behavior.  Note, “birder photographer” was not a typo.  It is amazing how many times the question comes up as to whether you are a birder or a photographer as if they are exclusive titles.  With my brother Ron on this, we are answering this question with a resounding “Yes” from now on hehehe.

So, welcome back to the blog…

Yellow Warbler shot on Colorado Trip - May 2014

… the Yellow Warbler.  You may recall that this brightly feathered bird made its debut back on April 15th, 2015 (link here). Mr. Yellow from the previous post was found at Lake Andes in South Dakota.  This new specimen was spotted on our trip to Colorado back in May of 2014.  True to the statement above, I happen to like these first two shots better than the previous set (especially the first one).

Yellow Warbler shot on Colorado Trip - May 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of the yella fella.

Clearly this male was doing its best to put the Beast through its paces.  All those limbs was making focusing a pain in the butt.  Typically when this happens I have to up the fstop (or decrease it depending on your technical savvy) to broaden out the depth of field – the photographer’s equivalent to cheating on your exam.  You can tell the depth was opened up by the length of the branch that is in focus beyond the bird.  Typically The Beast will throw that background into a pleasing blur, but then you better get the focus marker dead centered on the bird’s eye.

The humorous part of this set is when I got the chance to basically shoot unobstructed I left room for improvement (see below).  Hate it when I do that, but that is what keeps me going out in the field.
Yellow Warbler shot on Colorado Trip - May 2014
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am a little more liberal on my shot selection when in the bonus post time.  I like to give myself references for what I can strive to improve on in the future.  Photography secret number two for today – for every shot you see they post, assume there were plenty more on the cutting room floor.  I usually cry foul on the “I am one and done” comments I hear from time to time from fellow shutterbugs.  In this day and age, it cost you nothing beyond some extra viewing time in the digital darkroom to capture a few extra images.  Extra chances to get that truly intriguing shot.  So for future reference, the shot above needs to be sharper next time, the shot below needs to have some foot panning applied.
Yellow Warbler shot on Colorado Trip - May 2014
All I needed to do was take three or four steps to the right and the clutter would have been safely discarded to the side.  A problem with big glass is sometimes the foreground is hidden due to the tight focus.  I really like the overall posture of this shot since he looks like he’s enjoying his delicate combination of whistles.   Shame the twigs destroyed the shot.

Until next time we meet my pretty mellow yellow fellow – sing away, sing away.

2 thoughts on “A Mellow Fellow”

  1. Very nice photos! These Yellow Warblers are fantastic birds. As you say, I think the best photograph is the top one. In addition to the entire bird being in focus, the bird has a happy, contented countenance, and there he is later singing his very pretty song in the last two pics. Also, the branches coming into the foreground in the first photo provide a 3D effect to the photo.

    Let’s see what interesting facts I can find about this species. Since Cowbirds are on your hate list along with a whole lot of other birds, you might be interested in this quote from the Audubon site:

    “Their open, cuplike nests are easy to find, and cowbirds often lay eggs in them. Yellow Warblers in some areas thwart these parasites by building a new floor over the cowbird eggs and laying a new clutch of their own. In one case, persistent cowbirds returned five times to lay more eggs in one nest, and an even more persistent warbler built six layers of nest floors to cover up the cowbird eggs.”

    So they are pretty smart after all. Here’s one more quote:

    “The basic mating song of the yellow warbler is often written as sweet-sweet-sweeter-than-sweet or sweet-sweet-l’m-so-sweet, but males sing various other songs as well, some of which resemble those of the magnolia or chestnut-sided warbler or the American redstart.”

    That’s what I sing, too.

    Thanks for the gorgeous shots!



  2. Aren’t you on vacation!?! a non-birding vacation I might add. I find it heartbreaking that the Warbler has to abandon the first layer of eggs thanks to that #!@%$@#%$!@#% Cowbird. Man I hate that bird. I still remember the shot we got at Waldon Springs where that sparrow was forced to feed that huge baby Cowbird thanks to their predatory practices. I need to get those pictures processed, talk about a nice set of bird behavior pictures. Recalled something I had posted on previously and went back and found it – Thrashers and Catbirds are smart enough to detect that they were victims of a brood parasite and launch the intruder eggs out of their nest. Also heard they tend to wait to eject it until a Blue Jay comes flying by so they can blast egg all over its face. This not only brings pleasure to themselves, but also endears them to the local Sparrow and Chickadee population.

    I see you have one upped me again – not only a birder, a photographer and a nomography cult leader but now a bird whisperer as well – I give up.


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