In Search of The Beautiful But Elusive Prothonotary Warbler

No birding adventure is any better than if it can be combined with time in a canoe. Recently we decided to to explore the shoreline of O’Shaughnessy Reservoir and the Twin Lakes area with the hope of seeing warblers. In past years the Twin Lakes Area (O’Shaughnessy Nature Preserve)  has been very good so we were hopeful.


The Route


While there are few things as enjoyable as viewing birds from a canoe, photographing them from such is a different matter.  The smaller the bird the more difficult, as movements are usually quicker and more erratic. In even the calmest conditions it’s a challenge to position the boat properly then quickly grab the camera and hope the bird hasn’t flown. The boat has an uncanny ability to swing around as you’re attempting to get a shot resulting in one doing an owl impersonation in order to keep shooting. Add wind, wave action, or river current  and  .   .   .   , I think you get the picture.


The day started out with a very light breeze but by late morning boat control became more of an issue with my wife doing more of the shooting while I managed things. We didn’t succeed in our quest to see a Prothonothary Warbler, but as is often the case, other birds as well as wildflowers and other wildlife took up the slack.


Double-crested Cormorants watched as we explored the shoreline.


Adult and juvenile Double-crested Cormorants




The adult decides he’s had enough.


A Red Shouldered Hawk was also sizing things up,


Red-shouldered Hawk


as Tree Swallows looked on.

Tree Swallow 1 good 1 050415  twin lakes cp1647

Tree Swallow, (Donna)

Tree IMG_8306use

Enjoying the front porch.


Once past the swallows we heading into an area where we typically see Prothonotary Warblers.


Looking for Prothonotary Warblers, Twin Lakes


As already mentioned, the Prothonotary Warblers eluded us, but we were greeted by a Solitary Sandpipers attracted to mudflats exposed by the receding water level.


Solitary Sandpiper


Looking at it’s reflection.


We then decided to explore a nearby stream.


Eversole Run flowing into the Twin Lakes area.


Up the stream we were entertained by a Blue-gray Gnatcather gathering nesting material.

Blue-gray a IMG_8384

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher gathering lichen.

Blue-gray b IMG_8387

Not giving up

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 3 wing out head cocked 1 050415 tiwn   lakes cp1

Totally getting into it! (Donna)


Eversole Run


Working our way back to the main part of the lake we noticed turtles enjoying the warmth of the sun.

Turtle Painted IMG_8327use

Painted Turtle.

Turtles on a log closer 3 050415 twin lakes cp1

A real gathering, (Donna)


Wildflowers were spotted along the bank and my wife decided to investigate.

Bluets cluster 1 050415 twin lakes cp1

Bluets, (Donna)

Pussy Toes 1 close-up 1 050415 twin lakes cp1

Pussy Toes, (Donna)


Many Yellow-rumped warblers were seen but the only warbler that cooperated for a picture was this female Yellow.

Yellow Warbler 3 LR better 1 050415 twin lakes cp1

Female Yellow Warbler, (Donna)


We hugged the west shore to stay out of the wind as we worked our way back to the launch. As we did so, a bird not often seen was encountered which got us pretty excited.

Blue-winged IMG_8432use

Blue-winged Teal

Blue-winged Teal 1 take off 050415 twin lakes cp1

Taking flight, (Donna)


All in all it was a very good day.


Twin Lakes Area


“So why do we take pictures, sometimes of the same bird or scene that was photographed just a few days ago?

We take them to tell a story, in celebration of the beauty of life, and to share our joy”.


Thanks for stopping by.

11 Comments on “In Search of The Beautiful But Elusive Prothonotary Warbler

  1. It’s too bad that you didn’t find a Prothonothary Warbler, but they are elusive. You were able to find plenty of other subjects that made great subjects for photos though!

  2. I never fail to be impressed by how much you see and how many good pictures you take when you are on your outings.

  3. Twin lakes with such beautiful flora and fauna on a wonderful canoe trip. All the photos were great, and I particularly loved the female yellow warbler!

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