Yellow Warbler, Mines of Spain, Dubuque, iowa

In spite of the fact that we still have an abundance of migrating birds around our house at the moment (I promise, I will show more pictures soon!), I went to the Mines of Spain yesterday, the wooded state recreation area south of Dubuque, Iowa. I was hoping to see some neotropical warblers, vireos, and gnatcatchers coming up the Mississippi River Valley and was rewarded with several species that will breed in eastern Iowa during the summer. However, watching them doesn’t automatically mean to capture an image. Warblers are very fast moving birds most of the time, giving the photographer only fractions of a second to frame, focus, and making the click.

The Mines of Spain have two ponds, just separated from the Mississippi River by the railroad tracks. The bushes and shrubs that surround them are an excellent home range for birds that rely on insects. With other words, it is a prime habitat for warblers and other birds and a good place to stick the legs of the tripod into the mud.

It was interesting to see Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts, Common Yellowthroats, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and Yellow-rumped Warblers gleaning for insects very close to the ground. The reason might be the relative low temperatures we have. Mosquitos, gnats, or little flies do still not perform much. We humans may like this, but the birds may struggle for survival if this would last. The good news is, the forecast for next week promises warmer weather…