A Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) hovering to inspect a curled leaf for concealed prey, at Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday. Taken on Panasonic G-9 with Leica 100-400mm lens.

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula) hovering to inspect a curled leaf for concealed prey, at Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday.

My wife and I were walking the trail that winds past the photo-blind at Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge on Sunday afternoon, in good conditions for bird-watching. The air was cool, the sunshine, warm. The woods seemed unusually quiet and lifeless and it seemed that we wouldn’t get many wildlife pictures after all; then quite suddenly, the surrounding woodland came alive with the movement of these scarcely-glimpsed little sprites as a bird wave washed over us!

A vine twitches here, leaves on a bush flutter there, where-ever I looked something just left to go and search somewhere else! These tiny birds are constantly on the move in search of little arthropods. It takes me a while to catch up with them visually.

There are fewer leaves now to conceal them, yet the Kinglets, genus Regulus, are very small birds in their expansive habitat, they seem very clever at using the remaining cover to confuse me and my camera’s autofocus. This is a natural consequence as they seek food in nooks, crannies, curled leaves and other such hard to reach places. We often see them through a veil of intermediary vegetation.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet feeding in hard to see places..

The Ruby-crowned Kinglet prying-out food.

We moved into the shade of a tree and stayed quiet, this Ruby-crowned Kinglet came to inspect a bramble beside our path for a late lunch. It was a delightful little egg-shaped bird with white eye-ring and a barely discernable red spot on the crown of its sweet head, only revealed occasionally. At any moment it could depart again.

I blazed away silently with my Panasonic G-9 digital mirrorless camera.

A Ruby-Crowned Kinglet in plain sight, but not for long!

Then my attention turned to a Golden-crowned Kinglet flitting about in some more distant trees.
These were my first sightings of one and I was very pleased to photograph it. I snapped off at other birds in the wave, Carolina Chickadees and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Great stuff!

A Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa). C.Paxton image and copyright.

It was a lovely Black Bayou Lake interlude, partially frozen in approximately 1/500th-of-a-second chunks, I came away with a series of about twenty good pictures from perhaps two hundred attempts, and a profound sense of joy and privilege from having witnessed such delightful little birds!