A Yellow Fellow

Today’s featured subject is hot off the presses, but unlike the previous post on the Wood Duck, this one is hot off the “processing” press.  The images were actually shot in South Dakota on our way to Yellowstone National Park back in May of 2013.  I know, I know I’m running way behind.  The good news is the birding competition between my brother Ron and I is accelerating my work in the digital darkroom (he’s cranking out new species in Chicago almost daily and even leaving his car to do it hehehe).  In an effort to keep up I present to you the latest entry in my Birding Life List of North America:
Common Yellowthroat from South Dakota

Can you see it?  The yellow is pretty much a dead giveaway if you happen to actually spot it moving in the branches.  The shot above was left in because this was the photography conditions I was fighting just trying to get this specimen in the tin.  It really didn’t want to leave the safety of the branches which were making the Beast focus walk all over the place trying to fight through the numerous focus opportunities.  I’d shuffle to the left to get a clearer shot, it would move to the right, shuffle back to the right and drop down it would fly up and back left… this ridiculous ballet went on way to long but it looked unique enough of a bird at the time to continue the pursuit.  Eventually this flighty bird moved into a less dense area revealing what it was.

Common Yellowthroat from South Dakota

Hit the jump to see a few more shots of this cute feathered specimen.

Unless you happen to know your multitude of small birds with yellow on them you may be new to this bird.  This is the Common Yellowthroat and is one of those few times where the ID’ing didn’t take a full night of thumbing through reference models.  The yellow palette and black mask are pretty distinctive. For the curious, here is a shot from the back.

Common Yellowthroat from South Dakota

All in all, a pretty cool looking bird.  Since it has been so long I’d forgotten all of the birds that were photographed that day.  Linda was the one who found this particular wildlife refuge while planning out our Yellowstone vacation.  She definitely takes care of me when it comes to seeking out interesting places to go birding.  The refuge was called Lake Andes National Wildlife Refuge and is located Southwest of Mitchell off of 281 and .. well that is about the sum total of what I was able to get from their website (link here).  You would think they could at least provide and address on their site – maybe this is why there was absolutely no one at this refuge when we were there – NO ONE!  The entire ummm X acres was ours to roam and explore (damn site can’t even give me the total acreage of the refuge – sad).  What they lack in marketing skills, they make up for in birding fodder.  This place was awesome bringing an impressive number of new species to add to my list and of course upcoming posts!  Just noticed their literature mentions they have Bobolinks – how intriguing.

Common Yellowthroat from South Dakota

Oops, ran out of pictures, better get some facts stat.   First off, this is a male specimen since the females lack the lone ranger mask.  They prefer tangles of vegetation which was definitely verified in the field.  They enjoy a variety of bugs including ants, bees, moths and flies so pretty much okay in my book.  They lay 1 to 6 eggs in up to 2 broods a year.  The male is fairly territorial although Cornell’s site implied their mates may do some cheating (bad bird, baaaad).   Not a whole lot less in the interesting facts, beyond they are one of the more numerous Warblers out there.

That’s all folks, hope you enjoyed my new yellow fellow.  Now where is that bird list so I can add that shiny new checkmark.

2 thoughts on “A Yellow Fellow”

  1. Nice pictures of the Common Yellowthroat! This is one of the relatively few birds I can tell by sound: witchety, witchety, witchety. Very distinctive song, and very distinctive coloring. Despite the mask, it always seems to be very friendly, like the Lone Ranger.

    Yes, I’ve started venturing from my car to take bird pictures. I scare more birds away when they see my face, but the thermals from the engine were blurring my shots and I don’t like to turn off the engine because I might get cold.



  2. I can’t say I remember hearing the bird in the field – maybe due to the fact Linda was with me and she usually spends her time distracting me or scaring the birds away when she sees anything that even comes close to looking like a snake – I should get extra birding bonuses for actually being able to get birds in the tin when my UB is with me. I was quite pleased to see you were finally venturing out into the cold to build up your life list – me thinks a Snowy Owl just might be in your future if you keep this adventurous side going although this is definitely giving your greater access to birds which is putting some serious pressure on me. I might have take a trip somewhere soon .. maybe out of state.. to fill up my bird hoppers again hehehe


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