One also can grow weary of being distracted by an abundance of gnatcatchers when trying to pin down that elusive migrant warbler after it provides a tantalizing glimpse. So many hoped-for rarities turn out to be only these active little nymphs.
Shades of gray can be very attractive. My favorite shot of a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher was this one, perched on exotic and invasive but admittedly beautiful Brazilian Pepper:
Exuberant and active, it is so nice when a gnatcatcher decides to settle down for a portrait. The blue shows up in the cool shade.
If I could paint I would try to create this image...
...or this, when the maples began to leaf out.
With luck, they may be caught in delightful poses.
This might look like "singing," though it is a call that comes out as a barely audible "pissst."
Photographing small birds is fun but also can be challenging. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers often hunt for insects by hover-gleaning. It takes a quick "trigger finger" to catch them in the act.
In this sequence I captured the approach,...
...locking in on the target, and ...
All the following flight shots were "accidental," as the bird suddenly took flight as I was photographing it while perched. In most cases I expected the "failed" photo opportunity to end up in the trash heap:
Gnatcatcher are extraordinary acrobats. Weaving through the foliage, it is almost impossible to keep them in the camera's viewfinder.
In Illinois, I found a pair at their nest, a marvelous globe decorated with spider webs and lichen "shingles."