Saturday was sunny and cool, the perfect combination for autumn birding.  I spent all morning at Jamaica Bay and had a great time (more on that tomorrow).  Especially great was seeing twelve species of wood-warbler, one of my best days of wood-warbler watching all fall.  Other than the hordes of Yellow-rumped Warblers that have returned to the city now that their breeding season is done and the well-named Common Yellowthroats the wood-warbler that was most prevalent was the Black-throated Blue Warbler.  I saw three males and three females, and while no one will ever question a birder who stops for a second (or third or fourth) look at a male BTB the females are, well, rather bland.  Nonetheless, one female Black-throated Blue Warbler certainly caught my attention when she came in close and let me photograph her in a variety of poses.

female Black-throated Blue Warbler

Sure, her subtle coloration is no match for the gaudy male, but she is beautiful anyway, no?  The one field mark that stands out that she shares with the male is the white “handkerchief” on her wing.  And watching her watching the underside of a leaf until she suddenly lunged for a juicy tidbit, well, what other word but wonderful can I use?

female Black-throated Blue Warbler pre-lunge


What’s that you say?  You want a close-up?

portrait of a Black-throated Blue

How about a shot of the undertail?

undertail of a female Black-throated Blue Warbler

What a bird!

female Black-throated Blue Warbler

And, just in case anyone is wondering what one looks like, one of the male Black-throated Blue Warblers I saw yesterday is below…

male Black-throated Blue Warbler

Written by Corey
Corey is a New Yorker who lived most of his life in upstate New York but has lived in Queens since 2008. He's only been birding since 2005 but has garnered a respectable life list by birding whenever he wasn't working as a union representative or spending time with his family. He lives in Forest Hills with Daisy and Desmond Shearwater. His bird photographs have appeared on the Today Show, in Birding, Living Bird Magazine, Bird Watcher's Digest, and many other fine publications. He is also the author of the American Birding Association Field Guide to the Birds of New York.