Monday, October 1, 2012

Lots of Nashville Warblers!

Saturday was rainy and I attended an all-day dragonfly identification class. But Sunday was absolutely beautiful, and in the morning I spent about 3 hours birding Lake Creek Trail. It was overcast, breezy, and cool, and I absolutely loved the fall-like weather. I also loved experiencing the peak of fall bird migration on our neighborhood hike-and-bike trail! Migrating birds don't like flying through inclement weather, so after rain or a cold front is the best time to look for them. I ran into Barry Noret and Byron Stone on the trail and we were not disappointed.

There were more Nashville Warblers than I've ever seen here. A mixed-species foraging flock of mostly Nashville Warblers was making a circuit around the half-mile between the Braes Valley parking lot and the footbridge. I estimated 50 individuals of this species. We kept watching waves and waves of these tiny yellowish birds flying between trees when our path crossed with this flock. Here's a mediocre photo I got of one of them. You can see the bright yellow throat, breast, and belly, gray face, white eye-ring, and green back and wings.

Nashville Warbler

Mixed in with them were a few Yellow Warblers, several Wilson's Warblers, a single Black-and-white Warbler, several Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and a single Swainson's Thrush. Below is one of the Wilson's Warblers we saw. The male of this mostly yellow species has a black cap that makes it easy to identify, but this female only has a faint trace of the cap. It's better recognized by the brighter yellow stripe over the eye, contrasting with the slightly darker yellow in the rest of its face.

Wilson's Warbler

A few more migrating songbirds we saw (or heard) included Yellow-breasted Chat, Least Flycatcher, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, Indigo Bunting, and Common Yellowthroat, and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. We were also treated to some distant views of migrating hawks, including Broad-winged Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, and American Kestrel.

Here's my complete list from Sunday morning. I hope you can get out and enjoy the cooler weather, and look closely for a few birds you don't recognize!

1 comment:

thismachine said...

Sounds like a good day. Nice pictures, and glad to hear the Ruby-crowned Kinglets are showing up.