Barely Glimpsed Birds

This is a natural history blog, not a photographic one. I try to use my best pictures for illustrative purposes, but my PowerShot SX50 definitely isn’t a SLR with a long lens. Sometimes I get a fine shot. Often not. You’ll notice few in-flight images here, for instance. And sometimes I get shots for reference’s sake only: what was that bird, or flower, or insect? So here are some recent less than great photo opportunities that still have, I think, some educational value.A Piliated Woodpecker (Hylatomus pileatus) in Great Swamp NWR. You can hear them — oh, can you hear them, their maniacal laugh resounding through the woods — and you can sometimes see them. Big as they are, though, they’re generally elusive.Saltmarsh Sparrow (Ammodramus caudacutus) at Marine Park Saltmarsh Nature Center, another elusive species that usually lurks amid the reeds and grasses. So not one to pose too long. There were two; perhaps they’re setting up a nest? There are nesting records for Jamaica Bay and Staten Island. The Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) stand out, but how those little ones in front of them? Click on image to make it larger. The peeps sure blend in, rather better than at the beach. Semipalmated Sandpipers (Calidris pusilla), I think: their legs are barely visible, but don’t look yellow (which could turn them into Least Sandpipers).A bathing Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera). The two wing bars, not visible here, and the line through the eye of the yellow face and head are the “tells” here. A male American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is unmistakable even without a head.You’d think an orange and black bird would be easy to see, but male Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) are often best revealed by their song.

1 Response to “Barely Glimpsed Birds”


  1. 1 Shannon May 9, 2017 at 3:45 pm

    I love the big glass for getting birdies up close and personal (for my enjoyment later) but the field lens is usually good enough for me. I mostly enjoy the differences between wild spaces (mine to the south, yours to the east) while reading blogs. Photos are secondary! (Though yours are quite good at boot.) Happy Spring Birding. Big Day on Saturday!


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