Look who just visited us in our neighbor's apple tree less than an hour ago:
This is a male Common Yellowthroat, Geothlypis trichas, one of the infamously confusing warblers.
This is also a great example of how digital photography and blogging has transformed my way of looking at things. I grabbed the camera instead of the binoculars. Not only did I want to see the bird clearly enough to identify it, I wanted to share what I saw. The immediacy of sharing is a bonus.
I had just woken up, started a pot of coffee on the stove, and walked out onto my tree fort to admire the apple tree. I caught a flash of yellow on the branches. I tried to find it again among the apple blossoms. I saw it was a warbler, but it was moving too quickly to observe it for long.
I went back inside and got my camera. With a zoom to 135mm (35mm equivalent about 150-160mm) and motor drive, I started trying to capture the quickly moving bird. It was a challenge. The auto-focus kept trying to focus on the flowers, rather than the bird. Sometimes, it couldn't focus on anything at all. He was moving rapidly, flicking clusters of blossoms with his beak, then moving off. I don't know if he was after insects in the flowers, or the flowers themselves.
The photo above makes it look like he was inches away. This is a crop of the best of 31 shots I took in a few minutes. Here's the original, full-frame image. Can you find the warbler in this picture?
The apple tree itself is magnificent this year. Covered in blossoms. Lots of flowers means we will have lots of apples later in the year. And lots of apples means lots of parrots. Something to look forward to for the fall.