Since you patiently read through the last somewhat boring bird (the Mallard) post, I figured it would be prudent to now offer the latest new bird to my collection (the one I promised at the start of the Wisconsin Birds series). With that…. drum roll … I’d like to introduce what I believe to be the Yellow-Rumped Warbler.
This male Warbler was shot at Devil’s Lake near Baraboo Wisconsin. As with the rest of this series it was taken over last Easter Weekend. We were actually up on the very picturesque cliffs overlooking the glacier formed lake when this bird flew over my head and landed in a nearby tree. At the time I trying my best to capture Turkey Vultures which were circling the cliffs. The frustration levels were mounting trying to get The Beast zeroed in and focused on those birds which, due to the height of the cliffs, were actually speeding by below us. The yellow markings on this Warbler were pretty unique which caught my attention immediately. Screw the Vultures, we’ve got a new bird to track down. One thing that became painfully clear with this Warbler (and likely generalized to all of these Warblers) is it did not want to stay in one place very long at all. It would land, give me about 3 seconds to get the big glass in position, get the exposure settings right and finally take one shot.
Hit the jump to see more pictures of this new Warbler
Then off it went further along the cliff trail. This cycle kept repeating until I was a long ways from Linda (who opted for a rest while taking the opportunity to once again make reference to my supposed attempts to kill her on a previous cliff trail in Acadia – not sure she is ever going to let me off the hook for that one). From a post treatment perspective, this is one of those birds that stands out nicely against a deep blue sky – the yellow, gray, black and white markings seem to pop a little more than the first shot which I kept at the more natural light color.
Turns out these Warblers are fairly common in its designated regions. However, I’ve been in those areas (trends to the North in Summer and South for Winter) a number of times now and this is the first time I’ve witnessed one. Central Wisconsin is at the upper edge of the migratory region for this bird. The yellow markings on the rump made this identification pretty easy – not sure I found any other birds with that specific indicator. There appears to be two types of this Warbler, the Audubon version and one they call Myrtle. The white markings on the eye give this one away as a Myrtle – and on a personal note the cooler of the two versions. They trend to the coniferous and wooded habitats with a diet of berries and insects. (By the way, see if you can find the hidden Mickey Mouse in the following image)
I bolded insects as a reminder to myself that they were in the absolute best spot they could be in based on this staple in their diet. It is unclear whether it was a odd phenomenon based on the light winter or a common occurrence at Devil’s Lake but this place was overrun with some type of black insect. We were actually up on the cliff trail for more than just to take in the view. It was also a sanctuary from the swarm that was terrorizing the low trails on the shoreline. I am not talking about a few mosquitoes you could simply swat aside as you passed through. Nope, imagine what looked like a grey shimmer everywhere you looked. We made it half way down the trail when we gave up – somewhat based on our own experience and the rest based on the people who were busy running past us from the opposite direction babbling incoherently about a biblical plague with hysteria in their eyes. Luckily, the bugs were not biters but not a good setting for expensive camera equipment – they were all over the inside of The Beast’s hood. You would think these Warblers would be so fat they couldn’t fly.
Here is a shot that shows the feature that led to its name. Not one of the most original titles but still better than Birdwithyellow.
This was our first time out at Devil’s Lake. We have driven by it probably a hundred times over the years since our trek to Devil’s Head Ski Resort takes us right by it (we often stay in Baraboo on our ski/boarding trips up there). Other than the insects, this was a very nice park. If you go, definitely take the cliff trail – it takes some effort to navigate the trail up (and down) but once on top it is a fairly easy walk. There are number of nice outcroppings that give a view of the lake and the woodlands on top were active with birds and the standard small forest animals.
In closing I decided to throw in the following shot. It isn’t tack sharp but it gives a sense of motion which captures exactly how this particular shoot went. Not only is this a good view of the breast markings, but you can even see the sunlight glowing through the delicate wings. Probably more impressive is this was done with big glass which is a struggle when hand holding through any form of bird in flight. If the focus point had just been a little closer towards the head (you can tell I locked the single focus point on its low breast/feet region) it would have been my go to fair competition shot – Linda likely sabotaged my settings to prevent me from taking honors this year in the U.B. competitions.
Now time to go put another check in my birder list! Hope you enjoyed another look at the birds we shot in Wisconsin series.