On Wednesday, I was away for a good part of the morning. When I returned, some warblers started showing up at the Bubbler, two American Redstarts and a Black-throated Green.
The Black-throated Green Warbler was having a good old time and I was having fun, too. I can literally become very focused on one bird. I realized I needed to look around. A different bird was working its way up the oak next to the Bubbler rock. "White supercilium, white under-eye arc and handkerchief"- neurons firing- all diagnostic field marks of a female Black-throated Blue Warbler!
Well, that photo might just be enough to identify the bird, but I hoped for better. Now, I kept my eyes on that bird and followed it. It was hungry, but really wanted to check out the bubbler.
It went behind the Bubbler to the Smooth Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens).
I watched it finding caterpillars and even a small butterfly while working through the small elms, rough-leaf dogwoods, and oaks. Then, it was in the American Elm (Ulmus americana) above my head, chipping at me. I made little chipping sounds back. It flew to my left in the oak near the deck and looked at me. I quietly told the bird how beautiful she was and she allowed me several photos at very close range.
Friends, it does not get any better than this, truly! This species is a 'very rare' migrant here and to have this bird be so curious, cooperative and close almost defies description. This bird was not timid at all and seemed to trust that no harm was intended with my large lens aimed at it just eight feet away. To be able to share this soul-satisfying view with others is what drives me to document what comes into our conservation sanctuary to be nourished and refreshed. It is pure joy to see these birds here!
Twelve years ago, on the morning of 5/13/05, I barely had a sip of coffee before birds started popping in at the Bubbler. This was my eighth shot of the day and again, a magical moment with a male Black-throated Blue.
This species is considered the 'Holy Grail' of birders here in Missouri and a report of one always get the adrenaline rushing. They are typically found in the Eastern migratory flyway and nest in the Eastern states. Was 'my' bird brought in by Hurricane Irma? Well, hurricane winds do have an impact on migration.
To view all 28 of the photos of this warbler and others: Birds since 9/8/17
To read more about Black-throated Blue Warblers: Black-throated Blue Warbler
To read about the records on Black-throated Blue Warblers in Missouri: Black-throated Blue Warbler
To read about Hurricane Irma: Hurricane Irma's impact