Outdoors Magazine

Spectacular Migratory Birds

By Stabone @stabone


Last Friday and Saturday, I went to Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and Leesylvania State Park to try to find and photograph some of the many migratory birds that are passing through northern Virginia on their way up north to where they breed. Most of the birds in this article migrated from Central and South America and are ravenously hungry to replenish their weight and energy for the rest of their journey. Since they stopped to feed, they are very active as they search for food, which makes them difficult to photograph. They seem to be constantly moving. (Above and below images are Common Yellowthroat Warblers.)


As you will see throughout this article, I was very successful. I did not see as many species of birds as other people (serious birders) were seeing and reporting in various bird sighting reports, but nevertheless, I was very pleased to see and photograph a significant number of species. Below are more Common Yellowthroat Warblers. Yellowthroat Warblers prefer marshes and wetlands with dense, low vegetation. Their diet consists mostly of insects.





The following images are of Yellow Warblers. Yellow Warblers, like other warblers, frequent forested areas, as well s scrublands. The global population is estimated at 39 million.



The next two images are of Black-throated Blue Warblers. These warblers are very territorial and breed in deciduous and mixed woodlands. They build their nests in thick shrubs.

The next images are of Yellow-rumped Warblers. They are very common and their population is estimated at 90 million. They prefer temperate, tropical and subtropical forests and shrublands.


The following images are of Prothonotary Warblers. They live primarily wooded swamplands. They are one of two warblers that nest in tree cavities. They get their name “Prothonotary” from the Roman Catholic church, whose robes were bright yellow.

The next images are of Palm Warblers. Their habitat varies from form forests, scrublands, wetlands, and grasslands. Their population is estimated at 23 million.

Besides warblers, there were many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (below images). I was able to get several images of one of the Gnatcatchers beating an insect against a tree limb before eating it. They reside in forests, scrublands, and savannas. Their estimated population is 57 million.

The following images are of an Eastern Towhee that was working to find insects under the leaves. They prefer forest and scrublands. They have an estimated population of 11 million.

Below is a Eastern Kingbird that was perched high up on the top of a very tall tree just watching all of the activity. The Kingbird prefers forests, scrublands, and wetlands, and have an estimated population of 13 million.

Below is an image of a White-throated Sparrow. They spend their winters in the southern and eastern United States. Therefore, I am not sure this one was migrating, but it was posing for me while photographed the warblers.


Although I did not photograph the below Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Occoquan or Leesylvania, it too migrated and has decided to make its summer home behind my house, as it has done in previous seasons.

Ruby-throated-Hummingbird 2

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