Pursuit of the Passerine* Persuasion

Morning walks usually begin at a small park at the end of my block. Mostly open except for a grove of live oak, the park skirts a small lake with a little shoreline thicket thus making it a perfect location for observing a variety of birds.


I usually don’t take my camera on these walks because if I do, I end up capturing images rather than exercising. However, as fall descended on Northern States I couldn’t help but observe new feathered visitors to the park. Most fascinating were a reading** of small songbirds with yellow-rumps that kept dropping from the trees only to run around in the grass then hop into the air and grab insects before returning. They seemed tolerant of park visitors of the two-legged sort so I decided to return with my camera. Photographing them turned out to be more difficult than I thought so my returns became habitual. Why? First, they never stop moving. Second, they flit in and out of shady trees on to sunlit lawn, presenting exposure challenges. Last, they are elusive. Could they be camera shy? Undaunted, I returned repeatedly in quest of at least one sharp photo of the little guys. Finally, as I sat resting on a park boundary railing one landed not too far away. Success!

Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler

By this time, I had observed enough field marks to identify this cute but clever bird as a palm warbler. I decided to spy on them. I learned to listen for their crisp chek, chek call and let my ears lead me to the trees they frequented. Next, I watched for a rustle in the leaves, a flash of yellow, and a snappy pumping tail. Voilà!

Palm Warbler up a Tree

Palm Warbler on a Gumbo Limbo

Encouraged, I announced my new morning mission to my husband. I would come back with a photo of a palm warbler in the air with an insect in its mouth. Ha! Those of you that know how to do that, please tell me. You can see photos of flying palm warblers at The Celery Farm & Beyond. The best I could do was capture one in the grass—however, I haven’t given up.

Palm Warbler on a Search

Palm Warbler on an Insect Hunt

In the process of pursuing palm warblers, I’ve discovered other birds that frequent our park during fall migration. As a result, my digital and avian learning curves seem to be expanding, but I don’t mind one bit. To be truthful, I love it!

*Passerine: birds of the order Passeriformes, which includes perching birds and songbirds such as the jays, blackbirds, finches, warblers, and sparrows.

**Reading: a group of warblers

7 thoughts on “Pursuit of the Passerine* Persuasion

  1. I could tell it was a warbler but not from my area. LOL Good luck with trying to get one of these little guys in flight. I had enough trouble with large Canadian geese last spring.

    As you have found out, it takes a lot of patience and perserverance when doing wildlife photography.

  2. Your bird photos are so amazing. You must have the patience of a saint to get such perfect shots. I’ve been seeing a lot of pelicans and Canadian geese lately but can never get near enough or am never quick enough to get anything good. I’m probably just not trying hard enough. Have you seen this photo blog. A very different approach with a lot of processing but very lovely. http://www.marciescudderphotography.com/

  3. Thank you all.
    Yes, Scott, patience and perseverance are essential. I’m sure I need more of both. Suzanne, I appreciate the link. Marcie’s photos are strikingly beautiful.

  4. Beautiful pictures and very delightful reading. I love the way you write, tying together the descriptions and pictures of these lovely creatures. It makes us stop and appreciate what we so often take for granted!

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