Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)

After several failed attempts I finally got this shot before the bird flew off to one of the other trees.

Over repeated visits over a few week, I had heard two or more Baltimore Orioles calling from the top branches of the trees near the observation platform and parking on West Drive in the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge. On my second visit, after Merlin ID identified the bird calls, I saw two individuals chasing each other among the branches. It was frustrating not getting any photographs, as the sky was overcast and the backlight was an issue.

I wanted a "bird posed on a branch" photograph. After multiple visits to the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge, I managed to gather a small collection of images of passing quality. On these visits, the sky was clearer with a bit of sunlight. I’m not sure if it’s the same bird, but I returned to the same spot each time to hear the oriole singing in the branches above my head.

Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula)
Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) · 6 May 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Later in the month, I woke up to clear skies and excitedly made my way to Institute Woods. My goal was to photograph some warblers at a spot I had marked on Google Maps. After finding the Magnolia Warbler, I continued walking the trails, eventually reaching the Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge trailhead at West Drive.

Fortunately, more than one Baltimore Oriole (Icterus galbula) individual was calling from the trees. After about 15 minutes, I got the photograph you see in the header. It’s a clearer but not perfect photograph. It’s still not "bird posed on a branch" worthy, but it’s the best I could do on this outing.

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)

After weeks without a proper sighting, I finally saw a Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) foraging in the top branches of the trees near the observation deck at Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge. I stood on the platform for nearly 45 minutes but did not get any clear photos. The sky was overcast, and the lighting was poor. I returned the next day and this time I had more luck.

Due to its diverse habitat, which includes a mix of wetlands, forests, and open fields the refuge is a known hotspot for Yellow Warblers (Setophaga petechia) and many other warbler species. The habitat provides ample food sources, such as insects and berries, and suitable nesting areas. But honestly, for me, finding any kind of warbler in the refuge was challenging even though its location along migratory routes makes it an ideal stopover for warblers during their seasonal migrations.

Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)
Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia) · 2 May 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)

I was standing at the blind just off the main trail at Charles H. Rogers Wildlife Refuge. The vocalisations of the Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) are varied and include a distinctive "chick-a-dee-dee-dee" call, which serves as a contact call, and a sweet, whistled "fee-bee-fee-bay" song, which is more common in the spring. I heard the Carolina Chickadee even before I saw it hopping around among the leaves in the tree above my head.

The diverse habitats of the refuge, including dense underbrush and mature trees, provide excellent nesting sites in tree cavities.

The Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) is a small bird. They have a distinctive appearance with a black cap and bib, white cheeks, and soft grey upperparts. Their underparts are light grey to white. In the spring, they are active and can often be seen flitting about mixed woodlands and edges, searching for insects and seeds. Carolina Chickadees are known for their acrobatic foraging, often hanging upside down on branches and twigs as they inspect leaves and bark for food.

Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis)
Carolina Chickadee (Poecile carolinensis) · 23 April 2024 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR