Wednesday, May 20, 2009

All it takes

After a crappy morning, I needed to un-blue myself. I just needed a bird. A "good" bird.
Now, they are all "good" (except for house sparrows and starlings, but I digress), but I just needed a brilliant flash of something I don't see every day.

Lake Isabella is my haven. I have "MY" corner, near the river. This little space tucked away from the fishermen and joggers attracts all the warblers this time of year, with the juicy caterpillars hanging from the sycamores and the relative quiet.
And red-tailed hawks, and gnat catchers, and waxwings, and the resident Great Horned Owl family.

Hearing a "zweet-zweet-zweet" overhead had me reaching for the iPod. Not a black and white warbler, but a similar cadence. (Those of you who were at New River can hear a B&W from miles away now, I think.) The "Squeaky Tricycle Wheel" sound. But this song was too loud, too slow.
A zip of blinding yellow helped me find the song on the good ol' BirdJam.
(Hi, Jay!!!)

Prothonotary warbler. A surreal yellow, with black button eyes that seem too big for its face.
I dialed up the song and played it. I got an immediate response, and was rewarded by the bird landing FIVE FEET above my HEAD. Luckily I had my camera in the other hand, and I got this photo:
Prothonotary warbler Lake Isabella

And it didn't just flit away into the trees as I expected. It sat there and observed me. It was a moment just for the bird and myself.

I let it watch me until it had its fill and popped away. I turned off the iPod (see here for ethical use of BirdJam software) and let the bird have the field.

That's all it takes.


Beth in NYC said...

What a gorgeous photo of a prothonotary warbler! That's got to brighten up any crappy day. Between yours and Julie's blackburnian image, I am green with envy! Congrats!

Kyle said...

Hey, way to go on the prothonotary, Susan! I saw my first one (two actually) just last month, but couldn't get anywhere near that nice of a shot. And Beth is right: that brilliant flash of yellow is sure to brighten up the worst of days! I hope the rest of the day was much better after this little birding booster.

Beth said...

Spectacular photo! When I saw my first prothonotary it was very far away perched on a tree over a creek and I was on the bridge crossing the creek (in North Carolina). You had a much better experience with this guy. Hope he helped brighten your day.


KatDoc said...

"Sweet, Sweet, Sweet" bird, Susan! And to think I drove all the way to Magee for a photo like that, when I could have gotten one here at home.

Nothing brightens your day like the gold of a Prothonotary, does it?


KGMom said...

What a sweet little bird. I do love the black button eyes--perfect description.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Now there's a life bird I didn't get in WVA. It's such an INTENSE yellow- amazing.

And- your photo absolutely ROCKS!!!

The way you described your moment where the bird watched YOU- perfect. It's such a total thrill for me when that happens. When a bird or any wild critter looks back and watches me- it feel like it has drawn me into ITS world. A perfect goosebump moment.

Mark Jones said...

Beautiful bird! I also had the privilege to see this warbler at Lake Isabella this week. Thanks for the "Ethical use of BirdJam" link. I have similar software on my iPhone and it's good to know how to use it responsibly.

Bird Girl said...

You lucky girl! I've never seen one of those - but I sure would like to! You got an awesome picture, too!

RuthieJ said...

Wow - what a gorgeous bird and what a fantastic picture you got! A bird like that would change a crappy day into a good one for me too!

Stacy said...

Beautiful photograph! At first I thought it a weaver bird!

The link to ethical ipod use was very informative. I would have never expected that the birds would actaully be drawn to the sounds. I just thought it was for humans to be able to know what sounds the birds made... Good points!

Kathiesbirds said...

An outstanding photo Susan. That would be a lifer for me!