On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020) as a place to share our adventures and observations, no matter where we are.
I was never much of a bird person until I first saw Albatrossity’s photos in On the Road a couple of years ago. Of course, I didn’t get the flower/gardening bug until I turned 30, so it’s good that we never stop changing. ~WaterGirl
Part 5 of Spring in Flyover Country and we are really starting to get into the heart of migration. Not just shorebirds and ducks moving, but warblers and vireos and orioles and thrushes and flycatchers, oh my! Here are some shots from the last week of April/first weekend of May 2020.
Bison babies are born in March or April, and are starting to look more solid and less gangly right now. But they still have that orange-brown fur, and this one has an air of insouciance, don’t you think?
Got a new bird for the yard list this spring, and that is not a common occurrence after 8 years in this house. This Black-and-white Warbler showed up on afternoon and did his best “hanging on by my tiptoes” routine. This species of warbler does breed in Kansas, so it is kinda surprising that we hadn’t seen one in the yard before. But it is what it is.
Another lovely warbler that breeds in this area is the Yellow Warbler. Here’s a male, hanging out in a redbud tree that has just about lost its last blossoms. In my experience Yellow Warblers are friendly and accommodating to the photographer, since they come down low to sing and forage, unlike most other warbler species.
The third warbler species in this post, the Palm Warbler, is a migrant on its way to the boreal forests of Canada and Alaska. There are no palms there; the species was first collected in the winter on Hispaniola, shot down from a palm tree there, and named after that tree. Bird names can be bizarre. This species also forages low, sometimes even on the ground, and that made this one easier to photograph. He was singing from a low perch when I found him, and graciously agreed to stick around a few more seconds for a portrait.
Great Crested Flycatchers are well-known to most birders in the eastern half of the US, and their noisy whoops and whistles herald their arrival every spring. This bird is one of a pair that nests in the woods behind our house somewhere, and was photographed from our back deck a day or so after he/she arrived back in Kansas.
A surprising shorebird migrant appeared in front of me at a local lake, this Piping Plover. This is a well-known endangered species which causes closed beaches when they nest on beaches along the east coast. Less well known is the interior population, which nests on sand bars in prairie rivers, an even more dangerous habitat these days. It is estimated that there are only about 8,500 individuals of this species on the planet.
Green Herons are also familiar to many birders in this country, and very similar species are found in the southern hemisphere as well. They are small herons who generally don’t wade in water, but hunt from the shore or from a log near the water. This one ignored me completely, and kept looking for breakfast. I never saw it catch anything, but if looks could kill, he would be eating well…
Final bird is the most colorful paint-by-numbers bird in North America, the Painted Bunting. Despite their fancy attire, they can blend into the forest quite well, like this guy. There are several spots locally where these birds can be found, but we are pretty much on the northwesternmost edge of their range here.