Photographs by Frank

20 May 2019

Star Island — Spring 2019 Birds

Filed under: Birds,Wildlife — Tags: — Frank @ 9:30 PM

This past weekend Joan and I made another trip to Star Island to experience the vernal migration of birds. This is my third spring trip; previous trips were in May 2014 and May 2017, We also visited in the fall of 2015.

Star Island is one of the Isles of Shoals off the coast of New Hampshire and Maine. As such, the island is a classic migrant trap that concentrates migrating birds in a small geographic area each day. That concentration, combined with the generally low vegetation (with sparse leaves in mid-May) makes for wonderful birding and bird photography.

The most charismatic of the migrating birds are the warblers in breeding plumage this time of year. However, there are other migrants present in addition to the warblers. There are also species that live and breed on the island. All are represented in the photos shown here.

The set of thirty photos* below begins with an image of a magnolia warbler in the chain-link fence with surrounds the island’s tennis court. I begin with this photo to show the size of the warblers… they are tiny birds! Their size, coupled with their near constant movement and their preference for thickets of vegetation make for challenging (and thus fun) photography.

I have sorted the set so that the warblers appear first followed by the other birds. I apologize for the large number of photos but there was an incredible variety of birds present on the island in the roughly forty-eight hours we were there. I tried not to show more than one photo of a species, but failed most egregiously in the case of both the yellow warbler (which breeds on the island and is thus one of the more common warblers) and the black and white warbler (which is one of the easier warblers to photograph as it tends to move a bit more slowly that most of the rest). Sometimes it is simply too difficult to choose a favorite “child”.

Lastly, there are still some photos titled “ID needed”. Hunting through bird books is not my idea of a fun time and in the interest of a timely post, they remain unidentified by me. If you care to help “fill in” those missing IDs, please leave a comment or send me an email. Corrections to the IDs I have made are also appreciated. I am hoping that Joan will do most of the “work” when she sees this post!

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Magnolia Warbler (in chain link fence)
Magnolia Warbler (in chain link fence)
Northern Parula #1
Northern Parula #1
Common Yellow-throat
Common Yellow-throat
Magnolia Warbler #1
Magnolia Warbler #1
Magnolia Warbler #2
Magnolia Warbler #2
ID Needed #1
ID Needed #1
ID Needed #2
ID Needed #2
ID Needed #3
ID Needed #3
Black and White Warbler #1
Black and White Warbler #1
American Redstart
American Redstart
Cape May Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Northern Parula #2
Northern Parula #2
Black and White Warbler #2
Black and White Warbler #2
ID Needed #4
ID Needed #4
Blackpoll Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Yellow Warbler #1
Yellow Warbler #1
Yellow Warbler Singing
Yellow Warbler Singing
ID Needed #5
ID Needed #5
Yellow Warbler #2
Yellow Warbler #2
Mallard
Mallard
Sparrow Singing #1
Sparrow Singing #1
Catbird
Catbird
Common Eider Pair
Common Eider Pair
Cedar Waxwing
Cedar Waxwing
American Robin with Worm
American Robin with Worm
Sparrow Singing #2
Sparrow Singing #2
Least Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-throated Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Common Grackle Calling
Common Grackle Calling
Red-winged Blackbird Calling
Red-winged Blackbird Calling

* For those that are interested in such things, I made roughly 800 exposures (most but not all, of birds) while we were on the island. I processed 125 (~15%) of those exposures and present 30 of them (~4%) here.

4 Comments

  1. Phoebe?

    Comment by Pat Nelson — 20 May 2019 @ 10:25 PM

  2. Hmmm… In my previous comment, I thought I was commenting on a specific photo, but it appears that all comments apply to all photos. In any case, it’s a phenomenal collection of great shots and number of different birds. I went out there on a birding trip with Eric Masterson some years back and we saw quite a few birds too, but I attempted to photograph only a few — one being a yellow warbler that stood still for a moment.

    Comment by Pat Nelson — 20 May 2019 @ 10:31 PM

  3. Pat, thanks for your comments.

    Being able to make comments on individual photos would be useful, but I am not sure it is possible. Then again, this technology stuff is sometime beyond me!

    These photos were taken on one of Eric’s annual trips… all four of the trips I have made to Star Island have been with Eric.

    Comment by Frank — 20 May 2019 @ 10:40 PM

  4. I’m no help with bird ID as only pigeons, sparrows, and crows were allowed on the streets and backyards of Dorchester. However, this is an amazing collection of birds. Great idea with #1 – showing us the actual size of these little critters.

    Comment by Joe Kennedy — 21 May 2019 @ 7:35 AM

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