Friday, January 2, 2015

Bird of the Day: Common Yellowthroat at the Merced National Wildlife Refuge

Common, my foot. How many trips have I made looking for birds before I saw this one? Dozens? It may be "common", but it wasn't easy to see. This Common Yellowthroat  (Geothlypis trichas) was flitting about in the rushes at the viewing platform along the auto-tour of the Merced National Wildlife Refuge. And I mean "flitting" in the most active sense of the word.
As I am sure that any bird photographer finds out immediately, birds can be exceedingly uncooperative when it comes to posing for pictures. This one was no exception, as I would actually see, try to focus, and then it was gone. And then it would reappear several yards away. Rinse, repeat, mumble mild obscenities. 
So, if you were set to complain that my first two pictures are fuzzy and all, here are some of the failed shots I got. It's a veritable "Where's Waldo?" kind of problem. I didn't think that bright yellow would be a good color for camouflage, but among the dead reeds it was excellent.
Despite my inability to see them, the Common Yellowthroat is in fact one of the most common types of warblers, with a range that extends across North America from Panama to Canada.  They breed in the northern states and Canada, and migrate to the southern states and Central America. Their numbers have decreased by about a third over the last few decades, probably from wetlands habitat loss.
More birds of the Merced Refuge to come!

1 comment:

  1. Last one is a great picture .. basically two colors, lots of strong lines squiggly and straight and even the color and pattern on the warbler is easily recognizable.