Robert McCaw Nature Photography
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Posted  - June 17, 2006

This very rare species shows up almost every year during the May spring migration at Point Pelee National Park in Ontario but the stopover is typically very short. In 2003, a male was found towards evening and was not seen again. In 2004, another male was present for only an afternoon.

In 2005 though, it was a different story! A beautiful male was around the Northwest Beach area for almost a week. To top that off, he spent much of his time along the dune area that separates the parking lot from the beach and the open shrubbery there made him very easy to see. To the amazement and joy of birders and photographers, he seemed completely oblivious to the crowds of 50 to 100 admiring people circling him. A rather humorous incident occurred when a man on the boardwalk was taking video - the bird hopped along the walk directly toward him and as he followed it with his camera, the bird went right between his legs completely unconcerned!

Everybody added this species to their list!

Of course, photographically, this Warbler was a dream bird. Cameras clicked and countless thousands of images were made. I was certainly happy to join in since this was my first time to photograph this rare species.

After getting the “keeper” portrait shots, however, it seemed possible to get something “a bit more”. A shot of a singing Kirtland’s Warbler was not even on my dream list before this – but by spending some time sprinkled with a goodly portion of luck ………….

It never hurts to try.

Canon 1D Mark 11
500mm len with 1.4x
1/500 second at 6.3
ISO 400

The Kirtland’s Warbler’s is one of the most endangered bird species in North America. Their only known nesting area is found on the Michigan peninsula in the United States. Here, the Jack Pine habitat that they require is heavily managed and total numbers of the birds have been slowly increasing.

At the end of my last visit with this beautiful male, I wished him well on his journey to Michigan.
He is needed there.

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