Long Point, a sandy peninsula found on the north shore of Lake Erie, provides the perfect location to observe and photograph a variety of birds. Less than 150 km from downtown Toronto, Long Point is a globally Important Birding Area (IBA) called home or migration stopover by 300+ bird species.
Beautifully coloured, the Chestnut-Sided Warbler is a common sight during spring migration in shrubby second-growth forest. In Long Point, there are a few places where you can observe and photograph the Chestnut-Sided Warbler from close range:
- Long Point Bird Observatory (LPBO) – field station and visitor centre located on Old Cut Blvd
- Long Point Provincial Park
- Thoroughfare Point – opened to the public from mid-April to mid-September and accessible through the Long Point Provincial Park
Male Chestnut-Sided Warbler with Ant – photographed during spring migration in Long Point, Ontario
This male Chestnut-Sided Warbler was observed picking ants from the undersides of leaves. He stopped for a brief moment before swallowing it just enough for this photographer to snap the above frame.
Like any other migrant warbler, Chestnuts are challenging to photograph, as they are very small birds, always on the move, and are almost always concealed by the branches. What is the most important skill in photographing warblers? Patience. What piece of equipment gives you a strategic advantage in photographing warblers (and does not bankrupt you)? A flash extender for fill flash.
The flash extender allows you to concentrate and project light on smaller subjects at longer ranges. Use fill flash to control the amount of light that hits your subject. Use it to eliminate the shadows, not to illuminate the scene. While fill flash seems to not disturb birds, use it with caution. If you note startling reactions from the birds when your flash lights up, you are most likely disturbing them.
Best time of the year to find the Chestnut-Sided Warbler at Long Point, Ontario is early May.
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