Monday, August 13, 2012


The older I become, I feel the progression of my age dictates a speedy passage of time.  Where has the summer gone?  It seems I was just photographing spring Wood Ducks, Sharp-tailed and Ruffed Grouse and here it is the middle of August.

This last week in my forest travels, I began seeing a growing influx of wood warblers in their returning migration.  Summer is over for many birds as they are on their way back to winter havens.  I have watched dozens of Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Tennessee, Northern Parula, Black-throated Green and Blackburnian Warblers stop here feeding on insects.

Mourning Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Northern Parula Warbler

Northern Parula Warbler

Chestnut-sided Warbler

On August 3rd, it was a particularly interesting day for observing birds on Cedar Ridge.  My usual hike up the ridge had not produced many birds to photograph and after hand feeding a few of my chickadees, I returned home.  I pulled up a chair on the front lawn, off to the side of my bird feeders, to watch the Purple Finch and American Goldfinches.  There were a dozen or so, who crowded the trays eating hulled sunflower and niger seeds.  I must add, our front lawn is quite unique, as it is located a stones throw from the Superior National Forest.  We haven't the slightest idea what flies or bounds through our yard during any season.  So I was not totally surprised to see a colorful display of warblers flitting around in our huge white cedar tree.

Purple Finch

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

I sat there for about a hour and a half.  During that time I saw nine different warbler species and a total of twenty one species of birds.  It was a marvelous display of colorful poses as the cedar branches make for attractive photographic backgrounds.

Magnolia Warbler

Canada Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler

Black & White Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler

American Redstart

What is interesting to me observing warblers, is their innate curiosity of other birds in the area.  I have eluded in other posts, that my tame chickadees seem to draw in the warblers.  I have many photos of warblers peering at me as a chickadee eats hulled sunflower seeds out of my hand.  A high percentage of warbler photos I have taken, have a chickadee in my hand as I took the photo... and today was no different.

Oddly enough, in these images, I fed the molting, mother chickadee out of my hand and she fed her fledgling on a dead cedar branch.

Black-capped Chickadee & Fledgling

Each day has brought more migratory birds to take respite in the safety of the "Bird Tree".  They enjoy drinks from our water trays and eat seeds from the bird feeders and the warblers find insects in branches and flowered ground cover.

Hairy Woodpecker

Evening Grosbeak

I now spend a couple hours each day watching the bird activity in the tree until after the migration.  I thought of compiling a list of all the birds and animals I have photographed in and around this magnificent tree, but at the moment it would be an overwhelming task... a winter project for sure. 

"Our avian brothers are back to roost on the first leg of their annual sojourn south. Why them and not us? Maybe it's because we humans are meant to be rooted in one spot."
Mitchell BurgessNorthern Exposure, The Bad Seed, 1992