2021-04-11 SPI: New Actors and Familiar Faces On Stage

Indigo Bunting - Passerina cyanea
Getting the subject’s identity while taking its picture can be a challenge. This Indigo Bunting looked like a finch to me while I was struggling to get an image while it darted in and out of view. Sunday was a day when the birds and then birders increased their respective presence on South Padre Island. Both are to be expected as spring migration steps up the bird numbers moving through on their way north.

I should have learned my lesson by now. This day reminded me when I’m trying to track a subject bouncing through the canopy, the effort is all-consuming. There’s not always time for identifying your subject. One example was a wet-feathered, immature male or female Indigo Bunting that I thought was a finch at the time of shooting. Another bird that gave me the briefest of looks in poor lighting and obscured by foliage was a Red-Eyed Vireo I took for a Tennessee Warbler. The third bird from this excursion that surprised me was a Yellow-Breasted Chat. This bird never gave me an unobstructed view, and I thought while shooting it was a Nashville Warbler.

The saving grace is that by reviewing captured images, no matter how bad they may be, I can overcome these misidentifications. I admire those skills I see in others where all attention is observational, and identity is the primary goal. A bird photographer’s primary goal is to get a clear image of the subject. In this, as with so many other endeavors in my life, I am a work in progress.

Meeting the Black-Throated Green Warbler for the first time was a high point for me on this day. All the birds I met this morning at the SPI Convention Centre (SPICC) were a joy. The list includes: Baltimore Oriole, Black-and-White Warbler, Black-Throated Green Warbler, Great Blue Heron, Hooded Warbler, Indigo Bunting, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Little Blue Heron, Northern Parula, Nashville Warbler, Orchard Oriole, Red-Eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Yellow-Breasted Chat, and Yellow-Rumped Warbler.

With warbler migration ramping up, so goes the attendance of the birding community. Perhaps in part because it was Sunday, it seemed to me there were more people visiting the SPICC than I’ve seen this year. Meeting my friend Luciano Guerra (from the National Butterfly Center) and his family this morning was a lovely surprise.

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