Black-throated Green Warbler

After two years of waiting for the threat of COVID to pass, it was time to get outside to photograph warblers.

After two years of waiting for the threat of COVID to pass, it was time to get outside to photograph [warblers]. I booked a one-on-one half-day workshop with wildlife photographer Ray Hennessy.

Just before the pandemic started, after decades of part-time bird photography, Ray switched from wedding photography, his primary source of income, to focus on his passion for bird photography. Originally from southern New Jersey, Ray now lives out of the camper van, travelling around the country to conduct group workshops wherever the birds are; South Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, Alaska, Utah etc.

The day started at 6:30 AM in Stokes State Forest in northwestern New Jersey. Stokes State Forest Park is over 90 minutes from my home. I met Ray in one of the parking lots where he had parked his camper van.

Ray knows the birds by their call, and he has remembered the locations where he has seen the specific birds he expected to see that day. We drove around to his list of sites, searching for the birds on my shot list. We sat among the leaves in a clearing just off one of the roads in Walpack. We waited patiently for a Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) to land on a log nearby. After about twenty to thirty minutes and many missed opportunities, I was rewarded with these photographs.

The Black-throated Green Warbler is identifiable by its bright yellow face, black throat, and side streaking. This stunning adult male bird is olive-green and white below, turning to black streaks on the flanks, with two bright white wing bars. These songbirds are common in wooded areas, primarily during migration seasons.

Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens)
Black-throated Green Warbler (Setophaga virens) · 13 May 2022 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

The Black-throated Green Warbler is a common breeder from northern boreal forests to hardwoods of the southeastern U.S. I have not yet learned the calls, but Ray knows the distinctive and persistent song. Black-throated Green Warblers are the easternmost representative of a quartet of closely related warblers. Black-throated Green Warblers often remain high in the canopy, so this was a very lucky capture.

Author: Khürt Williams

I work in application security architecture and I live in Montgomery Township, New Jersey with my wife Bhavna. Passionate about photography, you’ll find me writing about cybersecurity, tropical aquariums, terrariums, hiking, craft breweries, and capturing birds on camera. My prose is like a caffeinated squirrel—fast, unpredictable, and occasionally insightful.

4 thoughts on “Black-throated Green Warbler”

  1. Absolutely fantastic! This was fortunate, indeed, that it posed on such a perfect perch. And you did an incredible job creating a great photo. I love this shot. I rarely go looking for specific birds because the odds of any specific one showing up and posing so beautifully seems very low, but I also don't have the experience that Ray does. I hope you had a great time that day, it certainly looks like you did.

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