A BIG Day Photographing SMALL Birds

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~For some reason this is a bird that I have struggled to photograph in the past couple of years – Blue-gray Gnatcatcher at Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, 8/2/15.~

Well okay, maybe it wasn’t THAT big, but I did do pretty well photographing passerines today. I walked the Liberty Loop at the Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge early this morning, and the birds just seemed to make themselves a little more available than they have lately, particularly two birds that I never seem to get a good shot of: Yellow-throated Vireo and Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Additionally, the early morning light was nice for photos and I seemed to catch most birds in full or nearly full light on a nice dark background, which is a look I personally like. It was a nice walk with over 50 species seen or heard; I will include a species list at the bottom of this post. As usual, I was curious to see if any new shorebirds had moved in – I was happy to see at least one of the Semipalmated Plovers that Kyle Dudgeon had let me know about earlier this week was still around – that was my first of the season. Other than that, no new shorebirds to report, in fact numbers and variety of shorebirds both seemed to down; I did not located any Greater Yellowlegs, Semipalmated Sandpipers, nor Pectoral Sandpipers. Most the shorebirds were located in the back pond of the loop and in the WAY back of that pond, to boot. I did have one Lesser Yellowlegs just to the left of the viewing platform, where water levels have dropped a bit, so that was nice.

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~This was a treat for me! A Yellow-throated Vireo that ventured out of the treetops! Liberty Loop, 8/2/15.~
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~Here’s another flycatcher that I’m going to have to leave unidentified. Any thoughts on this bird, please comment! Liberty Loop at Wallkill River NWR, 8/2/15.~
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~Common Yellowthroat just off the trail at the Liberty Loop, 8/2/15.~
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~A sweet looking Downy Woodpecker at Wallkill River NWR, 8/2/15.~
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~Here’s another bird I don’t get too many shots of – House Wren on the east side of the Liberty Loop, 8/2/15.~
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~Ruby-throated Hummingbird at the Liberty Loop, 8/2/15.~

Here’s my list for the morning:

~One of only 2 Orchard Orioles I had on the day, they seemed to have moved through for the most part. Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, Liberty Loop Trail, 8/2/15.~
~One of only 2 Orchard Orioles I had on the day, they seemed to have moved through for the most part. Wallkill River National Wildlife Refuge, Liberty Loop Trail, 8/2/15.~

Canada Goose
Mallard
Wood Duck
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Green Heron
Turkey Vulture
Northern Harrier
Semipalmated Plover
Killdeer
Solitary Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Least Sandpiper
Mourning Dove
Black-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Pileated Woodpecker
Eastern Wood Peewee
Unidentified Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Kingbird
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
Am. Crow
Tree Swallow
Barn Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Am. Robin
Gray Catbird
Cedar Waxwing
Common Yellowthroat
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Indigo Bunting
Bobolink
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Am. Goldfinch

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~One more shot of the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Liberty Loop 8/2/15.~

8 thoughts on “A BIG Day Photographing SMALL Birds”

  1. Great shots Matt

    I love the flycatcher and I have no clue what it is either. You are getting to be the bird magnet that John Haas is. You always seem to have great luck and you get your shots in the best light.
    There is something so addicting to these little creatures.

    Wilma

    1. Thanks Wilma, I was happy with my birding today for sure. I concur, what is it about these creatures? They are SO addicting! Matt

  2. What a lovely morning for birding, and so productive, too! You captured the Yellow-throated Vireo beautifully as well as the Gnatcatcher! I’m thinking your unidentified flycatcher may be a Willow Flycatcher. Such an exciting time of year as the shorebirds begin their southerly migration! But then again, what time of year isn’t and exciting intention bird?

    1. It was a super morning for it, no doubt about it. I was thinking Willow also because of the crest on its head. I also have one vote for a first year Eastern Wood-Pewee. I’m like you Kathy, I get excited about every time of year when it comes to birding. Matt

  3. I doesn’t have the darker head pattern and breast of the EAWP, and it does seem to have a crest as you said. If only they’d all sing on queue!

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