Posted by: atowhee | August 22, 2019


This poor male American Goldfinch is undergoing a serious wardrobe downgrade.  Going from sunny yellow with black accents to moldering, molting, graying belly–poor guy.  Not a female goldfinch in the land wil leven be seen in the feeder with him.  Ah, but next spring…    Note the female looks decently dressed and ready for winter and rain and migration.

After years of frustration, trial-and-error (mostly error), strategy, blind luck, visual luck and various other non-systems, I have found the best way to get an image of a waiting warbler while you standing in the open, dog on leash anxious to move on to the next smell…find the area where the bird was last seen, open out and start shooting.  Below, the juvenile yellowthroat at Joe Dancer Park.  He’s hard to find in the large image, yes?  In the second image I show you where he is.  Then a close-up of his take-off.  The key thing to know, he was not visible until about the fourteenth image, which is I why I always shoot in bursts.  Most small songbirds don’t pose and insectivores are often very hard to track or even see well.  In this case the yellowthroat BURST into the open and sat for a couple seconds before his next flutter away.

I am not the only one feeding American Goldfinches.  I have a friend in Princeton who’s feeding them right now…and this in a neighbor’s yard here in McMinnville.  Then the big guy is a TV, hereabouts for a few more weeks.

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 20, 2019.  12 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove  X
Vaux’s Swift  1
Western Wood-Pewee  1
Willow Flycatcher  1
California Scrub-Jay  X
American Crow  X
Barn Swallow  X
Bewick’s Wren  1
American Robin  X
American Goldfinch  30
Song Sparrow  X
Common Yellowthroat  1

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