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(Myrtle) Yellow-rumped Warbler

My first visit to The Beanery and my first time seeing this warbler.

After walking for 90 minutes on my field trip around The Beanery, I still had no bird photographs. Despite the group's enthusiasm, I started to feel that I had wasted my time. I wanted to quit the tour, leave the group, and return to the car. However, I didn't relish telling Bhavna we had driven two hours in the rain to return home empty-handed. We heard trills and high-pitched chips as we approached a pond near one of the farm buildings. We could see rapid movement in the vines growing on the other side of the pond. Someone called out, with a surprisingly disappointing voice, that we were looking at Yellow-rumped warblers. Finally!

The Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) is a well-known bird species. Yellow-rumped Warbler species exhibit sexual dimorphism, meaning males and females have distinct appearances. While editing my photos, I realised that I had photographed females only. Female Yellow-rumped Warblers are referred to as "Myrtle."

Like most warblers, Yellow-rumped warblers are primarily insectivorous during the breeding season, feasting on insects and other invertebrates. Pond flies were buzzing around the pond as I photographed the birds hopping between the leaves of the thick vines and the branches of the dead shrubs near me.

Female Palm Warbler
Female (Myrtle) Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) · October 21, 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

The Yellow-rumped Warbler plumage provides camouflage in various environments where the warbler lives. During the breeding season, Myrtle females have grayish-olive upperparts with streaks on their back and wings. Their throats and undersides are pale yellow. However, the prominent feature of Yellow-rumped Warblers is the yellow patch on their rump. The colour is more subdued in females than males but still noticeable.

After the early morning disappointment, seeing these Yellow-rumped Warblers in their natural habitat was rewarding.

Common Yellowthroat

I have been lucky enough to photograph this warbler twice in Mercer Meadows.

This Common Yellowthroat is another bird I photographed in Mercer Meadows thsmpast Spring. I have been lucky enough to photograph this warbler twice in Mercer Meadows.

The Common Yellowthroat, a small and lively warbler, is a common sight in New Jersey during the season. I like their bright yellow throat and the black mask across their eyes. I sometimes confuse them for American Goldfinch.

Common Yellowthroat are often found in wetlands, thickets, and marshy areas, where they forage for insects and spiders. These agile birds are elusive, preferring to stay hidden in dense vegetation. Their "wichity-wichity" song adds a delightful touch to the wetland and marshland.

Common Yellowthroat at Mercer Meadows

This wasn't the first time I had photographed the Common Yellowthroat Warbler, but it was my first time doing so at Mercer Meadows.

After a brief distraction watching a rabbit enjoy breakfast, I continued my search for birds. Earlier, two photographers with impressive zoom lenses on their cameras had passed by, clearly interested in capturing avian moments. I walked past them and found a spot about ten meters ahead to focus on my own bird photography.

I attempted to capture images of birds coming and going from their nests in the meadow, but unfortunately, I didn't have much luck. As I was trying, the two photographers caught up with me, and we struck up a friendly conversation. The elder photographer seemed quite familiar with the park and shared some helpful tips on where I might have better chances of spotting birds in the meadow. The other photographer appeared to be around my age and was relatively new to bird photography.

While we were talking, I heard a chittering sound coming from a nearby thicket, and I immediately got my camera ready. This wasn't the first time I had photographed the Common Yellowthroat Warbler, but it was my first time doing so at Mercer Meadows. The male warbler was busy hunting for insects in the thicket, and I was fortunate to capture a shot of him holding his prey in his beak.

Common Yellowthroat Warbler.
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) · 18 June 2023 · FujiFilm X-T3 · XF150-600mmF5.6-8 R LM OIS WR

The Common Yellowthroat Warbler stands out due to its unconventional nesting habit. Unlike other warblers, it chooses to nest in open marshes, making it a common sight in reed beds and areas with cattails throughout the country. The male of this species can often be seen perched on tall stalks, delivering its unique song, characterised by the rhythmic repetition of "Wichita-Wichita-Wichita."