Ruby-throated Hummingbird hovering over Firebush (Hamelia patens):
Eastern Phoebe perching on a guard rail:
I enjoy the challenge of photographing LBBs (little brown birds), the smallest of which are the wrens. Seeing them requires patience and often long periods of watchful waiting.
I first sighted a Marsh Wren in Troy Meadows, New Jersey as a teenager back in May of 1949, when I participated in a "Big Day" with the Hackensack Audubon Society. It was then called "Long-billed Marsh Wren" to distinguish it from the diminutive prairie-dwelling "Short-billed Marsh Wren," which since 1982 has been known as the Sedge Wren. I would not see the latter species until November, 1951 when, at Moriches Bay and Inlet in Long Island, I joined a group of birders from Long Island, New York, led energetically by Allan Cruickshank. (He passed away in 1974. Here is his obituary in American Birds).
Group outings can produce large numbers of sightings. For a relatively new birder this can be quite overwhelming. The single day at Troy Meadows and environs yielded 23 new birds species to my life list, and the trip to Long Island added 15 species. I must admit that I do not have indelible memories of either of these wren sightings. Although the trips and places are still relatively fresh in my mind, some of the individual birds seem now to have been lost in the sea of discoveries.
My more recent encounters with these species have been at a more personal level. Finding them took individual effort. With only two eyes to look for them instead of scores, and delightful long looks to enjoy not only their plumage and anatomical features as well as their habits, habitats and vocalizations, the experience is more meaningful and memorable.
This is my Marsh Wren "sit spot" in our local birding patch. It is conveniently situated near the lake next to a Pond Cypress. A young Pond Apple tree is visible to the left and the "Pine Bank" (a dense stand of Australian Pine) is in the distance across the lake. Two large clumps of Sawgrass are directly in front, and a large area of cattails, just to the right, extends out to the shoreline:
While waiting for the wren, other wetland-associated birds may pop up, such as this Swamp Sparrow:
It climbs a reed to get a better look at me..
...and quickly exits:
In Illinois, I often caught snippets of the Marsh Wren's song or saw one weave in and out of the cattails in the distance. After taking up bird photography about 8 years ago I set a goal of capturing an image of every bird species I saw.
My first close encounter with a Marsh Wren with camera at the ready occurred in September, 2014 in a cattail marsh in Geneva, Illinois. My photos aptly illustrate the connection between this species and its preferred habitat:
This week I added the 169th species to the bird list for my neighborhood birding patch. Of these I have seen 162, and a few of the species reported by other observers are a bit suspect. This is the first photo of my local Marsh Wren (November 18, 2016):
I obtained better views the next day:
The Sedge Wren (11 cm long) is a half inch shorter than the Marsh Wren, which is 5 inches (13 cm) long. While I have seen a wintering Sedge Wren in Florida, it is a fairly common breeder near our second home in Illinois. It is usually found on dry ground such as a prairie, often next to or within sight of water.
Very elusive, this little creature will not sit still for a photo. Here are a few of my favorite Sedge Wren portraits, all from Nelson Lake in Kane County, Illinois:
My latest image is a favorite as it best illustrates the wren's imitation of an Olympic parallel bar gymnast (Oct 18, 2016):
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone in the USA (and belated good wishes to our Canadian friends). I do not have a good turkey photo, but this week a Turkey Vulture obliged me by finding a dead squirrel on the sidewalk in front of our next door neighbor's home. I guess this bird was named because of its strong (?) resemblance to the real thing. (Click on the photo to navigate to some more rather explicit images of his feast):
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to GOOD FENCES by Tex (Theresa).
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Today's Flowers Friday by Denise
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display