I’m not certain how commonplace it is to shoot a photo of the Common Yellowthroat, but I certainly didn’t find it uncomplicated.
I first learned that this tiny bird existed on our property just a couple of weeks ago. I saw a glint of yellow in an otherwise green, weedy field and nearly scrolled right past it when I was reviewing my films. Fortunately, I caught the sunny yellow color in both the real and digital world and I was able to say that I encountered and took a photo of my very first warbler.
Since then, I’ve scanned the location where I first saw it nearly every time I pass. But, I hadn’t seen it again until a couple of days ago. Again, I had no clue what little bird I was filming in the dense, shadowy, overgrown corridor of weeds, dried grasses and trees – further complicated by obsolete farm fencing that added an additional layer of complexity to the venture. It flitted around as if every place it landed was electrified. I couldn’t get a fix on the bird long enough to identify it, even with my naked eyes. Add the fact that there are seven layers of leaves, stems, branches and more leaves between my camera lens and the little avian, it’s amazing that I was even marginally successful in my endeavor.
Thank goodness that each blurry image of leaves and underbrush doesn’t cost a professional photography processing fee. I would have never spent the funds. But, I did find my stick-to-it-ness impressive, even if I must say so myself. The sun was searing on my back, the bugs were landing on my sweaty skin. My figer trembled attempting to hold a focal point. The ability to remain completely still is possible when it’s critically important – even if you have a fly crawling across your nose. But, I can’t say that I am able to maintain such a standard for very long before I just need to swat that pesky insect. Still, for a longer time than I might otherwise believe I can remain focused, I am successful on occasion.
Here’s the only image I captured of the male and female together. The female is in the top left and the male, at the bottom right – and they are both about two feet off the ground where old fencing has succumbed to the power of entropy.
If this bird – and its mate – didn’t give out a tiny chirp almost constantly, I could have never traced their movements. And yet, knowing they were there but not being able to hone in on them was outrageously frustrating, to say the least. Quite often they separated, which was even more difficult for me to put some sort of tracer on their positions. Yesterday, was able to capture the female Common Yellowthroat. They are not great photos, but better than I expected. Notice that she has what appears to be a spider in her bill in a couple of the images.
On that day, the only images of the male that I caught was the one I posted above, of the pair. However, today I was sucked into chasing their chirps for what seemed like an eternity before I was able to get a couple of shots of the male.
Perhaps I will be able to catch this little, yellow jewel again in the future. But, I must say I found it somewhat esaserbating to seek out such a tiny bird in such a complicated environment. It was certainly not nearly as simple as filming, say, a Bluebird that routinely flies to the nest box I provide, and that hunts in the open spaces. For that reason, I feel quite satisfied for having captured this quite uncommon Common Yellowthroat.