February 9, 2015
We had a beautiful weekend here in North Carolina, full of sunshine and warm temperatures (in contrast to our poor friends in the Northeast who are being bullied by another snowstorm). To take advantage of the spring-like atmosphere, I took some visiting family to Duke Gardens to stroll around.
On a past visit I found a bird feeder hanging from a tree, right next to a calm, glassy pond. I had never noticed this feeder before, and of course was not prepared with my camera and 200 mm lens. I would not make that mistake again!
Birds were very interested in the feeder, and my eyes could barely keep up with them as they were zipping around. Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, and Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers climbed up and down the branches and trunks of nearby trees, chattering away. Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees buzzed as they flitted back and forth. Best of all, a Pine and Yellow-rumped Warbler were barely feet from my face, still sporting some yellow plumage in the winter.
I especially love Pine Warblers. They are bright, like drops of sunshine in the cold winter months. They are in North Carolina in the winter, and travel up the eastern seabird in the spring and summer. I took dozens and dozens of photos of pine warblers, each one lacking something I just couldn’t put my finger on. One was shadowed, one lacked the crispness I sought, one was taken when the Pine Warbler was just not close enough. The finally – finally – I took the perfect photo. The Pine Warbler was in the sun, looking just adorable with great detail in the feathers. Success!
There were of course many more things to look at in the gardens other than birds. Some of the trees are blooming, including the Japanese apricots! Spring must be just around the corner.