I spent three hours in the Pinelands with Ray Hennessey hoping to get a photograph of the pine warbler. We could see the birds flying back and forth between the trees that lined the swampy area that Ray had scouted. We waited patiently, but the pine warbler kept out of view the camera. The light was fading, and we were ready to call it quits. Ray suggested that we stay just a bit longer. Our patience and effort were rewarded when this male landed in just the right spot.

NOTE: The light was fading, so the photograph was shot at ISO12800. It's not as sharp as I wanted.

This well-named bird is not often seen away from pine trees, especially during the breeding season. More sluggish than most of their relatives, Pine Warblers forage in a rather leisurely way at all levels in the pinewoods, from the ground to the treetops. This species is only a short-distance migrant, and almost the entire population spends the winter within the southern United States. Unlike most warblers, it regularly comes to bird feeders for suet or for other soft foods.Pine Warbler at the Audubon Society’s website

You can learn more about Ray Hennessy's work and signup for his workshops on his website. You can learn more about the Pine Warbler at the Audubon Society’s website.

Pine Warbler —FujiFilm X-T2 + XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ (359.6 mm, 0.002 sec at f/5.6, ISO12800), © Khürt L. Williams

Last weekend I joined photographer Ray Hennessey for a field trip to one of his birding spots in Woodbine in the pine barrens of New Jersey. While we had some challenges photographing the elusive pine warbler, we had no problems photographing this Prothonotary Warbler. The bird kept performing for us, stopping on sticks that poked out from the swampland and branches of the trees that lined the water.

Wooded swamps. Breeds in flooded river bottom hardwoods including black willow, ash, buttonbush, sweetgum, red maple, hackberry, river birch, and elm; or wetlands with bay trees surrounded by cypress swamp. Also nests near borders of lakes, rivers and ponds, normally only in areas with slow-moving or standing water. Winters in the tropics in lowland woods and mangrove swamps. Prothonotary Warbler on the Audubon Society website

One thing that I am learning from my bird photography field trips is the need for patience and persistence. For three hours, we stood among the trees waiting for the birds to arrive and put themselves in the right spots. There was no rushing, no bathroom break and we kept our talking to the minimum. I could imagine being out in these woods by myself, listening bird calls, to the sound of the wind in the trees and the water trickling over the stones of the nearby stream.

FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 3/1000 sec at f/5.6 | ISO8000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 3/1000 sec at f/5.6 | ISO8000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 100 mm | 1500 sec at f/4.5 | ISO5000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 3/1000 sec at f/5.6 | ISO8000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 3/1000 sec at f/5.6 | ISO8000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 196.6 mm | 3/1000 sec at f/5.0 | ISO3200
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 3/1000 sec at f/5.6 | ISO8000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 3/1000 sec at f/5.6 | ISO8000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 400 mm | 1500 sec at f/5.6 | ISO6400
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 100 mm | 1125 sec at f/4.5 | ISO2000
FujiFilm X-T2 | XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR @ 100 mm| 1125 sec at f/4.5 | ISO2500