Cape May Warbler – Magee Marsh, Ohio
I continue to go through and process the significant number of warbler photos I made this past May at Magee Marsh in Ohio during The Biggest Week in American Birding. Today’s post highlights Cape May Warbler.
The strong chestnut cheek patch surrounded by yellow as seen in the above photo of a bright male Cape May Warbler is definitive (Source: The Warbler Guide by Tom Stephenson and Scott Whittle). Note the yellow collar, white wing patch and black eyeline.
As found in the description of a drab Cape May Warbler in The Warbler Guide and seen in the above photo, you can see the greenish-yellow rump as well as the greenish edging to flight feathers. The belly and undertail coverts are whitish and the streaking is fairly even across the breast.
Cape May Warbler has a slightly decurved bill as seen here. As you may have noted from the camera settings in the photos posted here today, I did some experimentation with shutter speeds and the use of flash. Normally, when capturing images of perched warblers, I like to keep my shutter speed at 1/800 s or higher, especially when handholding with this setup. This helps freeze motion as these warblers typically don't hold still for very long. Here I experimented with a slower shutter speed without the use of flash. With image stabilization found on many of today's lenses, I find the success rate with regards to image sharpness is still pretty high, and, if the lighting is acceptable, you can still get some nice results without using flash. However, when using flash, you can get away with lower shutter speeds, as the flash freezes the action and noise is much lower with the resultant lower ISO setting required.
Here I used flash (same bird and environment as previous photo), which helped in two ways. I was able to lower my ISO setting to 400 from 1000 and the flash helped freeze the action, which helped me get a very sharp image. When used properly, flash can be extremely helpful in situations such as this, where warblers are often in partial shade under the cover of canopy and light is not abundant.
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