Posts Tagged ‘warblers’

16th September- CALL MY BLUFF!

September 17, 2012

Observers ready to be humbled by the Bluff Point morning flight spectacle

Mid-september, Bluff Point, CT, the day after a cold-front is a perfect recipe to witness the spectacle of morning flight of passerines, predominantly wood-warblers as they funnel through the so-named “hot corner”. This phenomenon of concentrated visible diurnal migration was first discovered in the late 90s by Dave Provencher, and astute and sharp local observer. Standing at the edge of the railroad tracks at the northern end of Bluff Point State Park, thousands of birds pour out at daybreak offering would be gladiators the challenge of identifying these projectiles in flight.

A longtime birding friend of mine, Patrick Baglee, visiting from the UK had his retinas well and truly wrecked by his first-ever morning flight spectacle.

Today was a c.5000 bird day, involving a combined total of 26 species of warbler! The most interesting were a Prothonotary Warbler and 2 Connecticut Warblers.

Nick Bonomo and I positioned ourselves to the north of the tracks to try to get a better vantage point to identify them in flight and to attempt some “fun flight” photography. There were some surprises least of all a Connecticut Warbler. Nick was far better on the draw with this one and his photographs of the bird in flight make mine look silly!See here:

How nearly all of my images turned out of warblers in flight!!

Red-eyed Vireo, one of the more numerous birds of the flight.

Chestnut-sided Warbler

Apparent Blue-headed Vireo migrating with prey


Swainson’s Thrush – no problems iding this baby!

Surprise Yellow-throated Vireo!


My sub-par Connecticut Warbler shot!

Here is a run down of some the species seen (in some instances numbers are conservative estimates):

Northern Flicker (60-70)

Eastern Wood-Pewee (10)

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher (1)

Eastern Phoebe (3)

Great Crested Flycatcher (4)

Yellow-throated Vireo (2)

Blue-headed Vireo (4)

Philadelphia Vireo (3)

Red-eyed Vireo (25)

Red-breasted Nuthatch (20)

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (15)

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (5)

Veery (2)

Swainson’s Thrush (15)

Cathurus thrush sp (20+

Cedar Waxwing (100+)

Blue-winged Warbler (2

Tennessee Warbler (7)

Nashville Warbler (3

Northern Parula (200+)

Yellow Warbler (3)

Chestnut-sided Warbler (10)

Magnolia Warbler (20+)

Black-throated Blue Warbler (15) surprisingly low number

Yellow-rumped Warbler (10)

Black-throated Green Warbler (200+)

Blackburnian Warbler (10+)

Pine Warbler (1)

Prairie Warbler (4)

Palm Warbler (4)

Bay-breasted Warbler (1)

Blackpoll Warbler (100+)

“Baypoll” Warbler (400+)

Black-and-white Warbler (50+)

American Redstart (400+)


Ovenbird (2)

Northern Waterthrush (1)


Oporonis species (1)

Common Yellowthroat (10)

Wilson’s Warbler (2)

Canada Warbler (2)

Unidentified Warblers (approx 3,000 to 3,500)

Scarlet Tanager (15)

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (15)

Indigo Bunting (1)

Baltimore Oriole (1)

Purple Finch (75+)

May 8th – East Rock Warbler Walk

May 10, 2011

A full house- East Rock Warbler Posse

Another great turn out for our spring walk around the local hot-spot of East Rock Park. Although numbers of warblers were on the lower side, a sharp group picked out ones and twos of several species. It was a glorious morning with good birds and good company. Great to meet new faces and hope to see you again.

 The morning kicked off with nice looks at Blackpoll, American Redstart and a super male Blackburnian as well as some of my best ever looks of at least two Wilson’s Warbler and another heard on the island by the covered bridge.

Black and White’s showed well – interesting trying to try and age them in the field, sometimes tough and perhaps more difficult than I thought, especially when not being able to see tail pattern and shape….comments welcome???? Click for larger image.

Pale auriculars and white throat sex this as a female. Blackish primary coverts (as opposed to brownish) would imply this as an adult (or ASY)? Stratford, CT May 08

Black auriculars and throat sex this as a male. Brownish primary coverts (as opposed to blackish) contrasting with the blackish-centered greater coverts would imply this as SY (or ASY). Milford, May 2011

Other highlighs included:  Wood Duck, Canada Goose, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Egret, Great Blue Heron, Black-crowned night Heron, Mourning Dove, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Eastern Phoebe, American Crow, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Parula, Black and white, Common Yellowthroat, Blackburnian, Magnolia, Blackpoll, American Redstart, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Yellow-rumped, Wilson’s Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, American Robin, Wood Thrush, Swainson’s Thrush, Northern Rough-winged Swallow, Rose-breasted Grosbeak,Northern Cardinal, White-breasted Nuthatch, Belted Kingfisher, White-throated Sparrow, Rufous-sided Towhee, Red-winged Blackbird, Common Grackle, Brown-headed Cowbird, Northern Oriole

7th May- Walker’s Pond, CT

May 8, 2011

A relaxing wander around the pond produced good looks at several warblers; BT Green, BT Blue, Chestnut-sided, Ovenbird, Magnolia, Parula, Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-rumped, Yellow, Ovenbird, several confiding Black ‘n Whites and a super-showy, eye-level Blackpoll!

One Yellow-rumped – possibly a first cycle bird showing brownish remiges. Many often show a moult ‘step’ in the greater coverts too (inner greater covert feathers are new, adult-like feathers and are longer than the worn and retained outer coverts). However, in Yellow-rumpeds, Howell (2010) notes that both adult and first-summer Yellow-rumped’s can show this pattern so it’s not as helpful as an ageing character as it is in other species.

A couple of the Black ‘n Whites were feeding in the leaf litter allowing frame-filling looks, including one first-cycle/first-summer bird (missing half a tail). Note the brown primaries and greater primary coverts (retained juvenile feathers) contrasting with the greater coverts. Also, note the new, rounded blackish tail feathers coming in on the right side which contrast with the worn, retained feathers on the left – this pattern seems to suggest the bird is replacing  lost/damaged feathers.

Male Black 'n White

22nd April – East Rock warblers

April 23, 2011

A chilly morning at East Rock didn’t bode well for migrants, but as soon as I walked over the covered bridge, a cracking little Black-and White slinked around the nearest tree, giving awesome views!

Black 'n White Warbler - a crippler!! A "streaky" throat and brown-washed primaries hint that this bird may be a SY male..

A small flurry of Palms and Yellow-rumped’ s were along the river trail with a single safforn male Yellow Warbler singing at the “corner”. A few Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a couple of “chayying” Blue-grey Gnatcatchers provided birds to watch. Another few weeks and the leaves will be on the trees, but for now, any migrants are uncloaked and visible.

I am leading a walk tomorrow at East Rock (see previous post for details) as part of Sunrise Birding, so if you haven’t registered please do or just turn up and let me know.