Photo credit: Dan Lory
Hiawatha National Forest, in Michigan's UP, on Forest Road 3145 just north of Trout Lake. That's where I was done in by a tiny warbler called a Common Yellowthroat.
It was late June, hot and sticky, and the mosquitoes and black flies were having a feast at my expense. I had parked the car and was walking a bit into the cedar swamp because I had glimpsed something intriguing. No need for boots. I wouldn't go far off the road, and I was OK balancing on the many spongy fallen logs.
I stopped on a log near where I had seen movement, and I made a few sharp pssh, pssh sounds, hoping to cause a bird to perk up and look. Immediately, before I even finished the second pssh, out from the thicket shot this bright yellow ping-pong ball, right at my face. It veered away at the last second, and landed in a nearby cedar.
Of course, my head jerked back, I lost my balance, and down I went, off the log and on my rear in knee-deep swamp water. I managed to keep my camera dry, and nothing was hurt but my pride, but I gained a new respect for this perky little bird. I also managed to get a photo of the culprit.
That's what a smirk looks like on a Common Yellowthroat.
This bird is well named. Its throat is yellow, and it's a very common bird. They are so common that if you see a tiny flash of yellow-green in the shrubs or low grasses in summer, nine times out of ten it will probably be a Common Yellowthroat.
If you do see one, pull your hat down low, plant your feet firmly, and sound out pssh, pssh nice and firmly. Go ahead, I dare you!
Dan's Feathursday Feature is a weekly contribution to the COS blog featuring the thoughts, insights and pictures of Chicago birder, Dan Lory on birds of the Chicago region.