Northern Parulas

I’ve seen several new bird lifers since arriving to Florida, but they’re in a fleeting moment, winging by me.  No time to even think about putting a lens on them.  So ‘for me’, they don’t count towards my ‘number’.  A lifer seen can only be counted if I score a photo to prove it.  🙂

Sooooo…..I finally got a photo of a new lifer, yay!  A small warbler called the Northern Parula.

I had no idea what the flock of unfamiliar birds were, creating a lovely, exciting noise above me.

They came with a burst through the forest, making quick stops on branches, then taking off again.  I tried my best with hopes of luck to lock on at least one hopefully.


One Northern Parula, two angles


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Another Northern Parula


Northern Parulas are considered an eastern warbler, but they occasionally breed along California’s coast as well as in New Mexico and Arizona.  The key to their presence is moss; Spanish moss in the south and beard moss in the boreal forest farther north.


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And another Northern Parula, with a small worm


They continued their burst through the overhead tree canopy and were gone, both in sight and sound, in less than a minute.

Welcome to my lifer list, Northern Parula #194!


— Photos taken along the Big Cypress Bend Boardwalk at the Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.



37 thoughts on “Northern Parulas

    • Thank you, Stephen. I’m much more organized now on all the places to visit with your tips and internet research, although I’m positive I’ll ‘discover’ even more. I’ve already been up Turner Road and turned left on Upper Wagonwheel Rd, wow that little stretch there I had several surprise sightings, one a Pied-billed Grebe no less. I never would have expected to find one of them in the swampy waters. Discovering is part of the fun and challenge for me. And a place or area will be different most every revisit. Yes, enjoying the Sunshine State for sure!

  1. Great shots, Donna! Lucky you to be so close to these birds – but of course it isn’t luck – you put yourself in the right place, with the right camera and the right skill – and voila!! Congratulations!

    • Thank you, David! And thanks for the article link! I know many that run for birds, but I’m too lazy, lol. I like my way of birding, more of an amateur, going if/when I have time, seeking what I can find on my own. If I tried to do a ‘Big Year’, I think my husband wouldn’t be too happy, lol. Great article on Brad, he was quite successful with his challenge!

  2. How wonderful Donna to finally photograph this little lifer! I am the same about recording a lifer, the photographic evidence validates our find. Some tiny birds are very challenging to photograph due to their speed of movement and the way they hide in the thick canopy or inside a bush. The problem is that birds can see and hear more acutely than us and also think faster and therefore act well before we can even see them. Enjoy your weekend my friend!

    • Thank you, Ashley! I hear you on how challenging they can be on capturing a photo, too many of my photos are snapped unfocused, so I cannot accurately ID a bird. I’ll just trash it and move on, lol. No need in fretting, I’ll try another time! 😉 Enjoy your weekend too my friend!

  3. Nice work capturing one of these quick warblers! They are sparse in central Florida during winter but in a couple of months their songs and colorful flitting will be everywhere.

    (Thanks for visiting our blog! We appreciate it.)

  4. Oh how delightful to come across this little bird party of northern parulas, Donna. I love these little warblers, and indeed they’re so fast, I’m impressed that you caught so many photos of them. I took interest in your lifer rule, sounds like you’re being a little tough on yourself. My lifer rule is to get a good look and a positive ID. Athena and I bird together, so we make sure we both see it before we tick it. Happy birding to you!

    • Thank you, Jet, it was a really cool experience for me. It’s nice you and Athena can ID together to feel confident on your sightings. I have watched ‘birders’ argue over what was ‘just seen’, and they tick off differently. 😲 Bird ID is indeed difficult at times. I guess I feel if I can get a photo, I have my proof, lol. Good example couple days ago, I saw two species of birds on the dock at Everglades NP and took some photos; but with the strong sunlight, I really couldn’t ID them at the moment, but I thought I was seeing Plovers and Gulls. The park’s tour boat was alongside me with two tour guys for the park. I nonchalantly asked them, “What are those two kinds of birds over there on the dock?” The one guy said, “Oh, they’re Sandwich Terns and Ruddy Turnstones.” Sandwich Terns were a lifer for me so I snapped a few more and then left, mumbling to my husband, “not sure about his tern ID, they looked more like gulls, and the others were definitely NOT RTurnstones”. I was glad I got photos to check later. Sure enough, I was right, they were immature Laughing Gulls and Semipalmated Plovers. Mumbled to my husband again about how I can’t trust people and their bird IDs, I gotta get my own photos and do my own thing. LOL Thanks for listening, I think my husband is tired if hearing about it. 😅

  5. Congratulations, 191 is pretty impressive. I’ve been thinking of trying to put together a page with just the birds that visit our backyard. I am gobsmacked at the variety we have here. It makes up for not being in Florida. 😉

    Eric tells me we have a couple of warblers here. He was pretty thrilled to catch a good shot of one (a warbler) the other day when he was stalking some ducks out in the water. They move so darned fast, I haven’t had any luck at all.

    • Thank you, Gunta! It’s fun to actually start thinking and considering just how many species of birds that live around us, it can be mind-boggling. We take so many for granted. I’m still chasing most warblers too, I got really lucky with this sighting. I’m going back to this boardwalk in another day or two early in the morning. I’m hoping it’s a busy time of birds then!

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