As a birder, one of my nemesis birds for a long time was the Blue-winged Warbler. I have seen all but one or two species of wood warblers that are found in the eastern half of the country but for a long time, Blue-wingeds avoided me. I finally got my eyes on one at High Island, Texas two years ago but it was just a single bird. When we finally decided to move to Ithaca, I knew that this would give me a chance to not only see Blue-wingeds, but hopefully get some photos as well.
I had been trying to get out and photograph this week but the weather didn’t really want to cooperate in the mornings. Finally, yesterday, we had a sunny morning and I decided to go check out a very small preserve just around the corner from my apartment, the Genung Nature Preserve, owned by the Finger Lakes Land Trust. Tuesday evening, someone had reported having heard Blue-winged Warblers at the preserve so I hoped there would be at least one bird on territory.
Before leaving the apartment this morning, I was sure to review the buzzy, almost insect like song of the Blue-winged Warbler. Knowing the song makes locating the birds infinitely easier. I arrived at the park, stepped out of my car and was immediately greeted by a Blue-winged Warbler singing about 50 yards away. Easy enough, I got my gear set up and headed down the trail to find the bird.
Fortunately for us photographers, Blue-wingeds tend to like low brushy habitat rather than really tall canopy trees like so many other warblers do. Sure enough, the Blue-winged Warbler was singing fairly low down and I was able to spend some significant time photographing the beautiful male.
Once I was satisfied with the images of this bird, I went for a walk through the rest of the preserve. The forest was alive with bird song including several new birds for the year for me such as the Scarlet Tanager, Eastern Towhee, and Common Yellowthroat. I also had an Ovenbird that was singing its heart out right by the parking lot. Maybe I’ll share those photographs with you tomorrow.