Archive for Warbler

Yellow-rumped Warbler juve 11/13/17

Yellow-rumped Warblers are the last of the migrating warblers to move through New England in any numbers, though even in November it’s not unusual to find stragglers of other species. This was one of a half dozen juves I found on the beach at Fort Foster, flitting down from a low tree branch or up from a piece of driftwood on the beach to catch brine flies on the wing, with astonishing acrobatics.


Palm Warbler 10/06/17

Palm Warblers breed east of the Rockies across Canada and the northern US in boggy areas common to the great boreal forest. A more western and browner subspecies winters on the Pacific coast. This is the eastern “yellow” subspecies that will winter in the southeastern US, Gulf states, Caribbean, and Central America. Spring breeding males have bright rusty caps and more colorful breast streaks.


Northern Waterthrush 7/8/16

northernwaterthrush (1)

Northern Waterthrushes look like a small forest thrush but are actually a large warbler closely related to the Ovenbird and the similar-looking Louisiana Waterthrush, but both of those species have pale pink legs. This one is awash in reflected green light, but they have mostly brown topsides and cream colored underparts with heavily streaked breasts (the woodland thrushes are spotted not streaked). They forage for invertebrates on the forest floor with a constant tail-bobbing habit and occasionally wander into the water and sometimes even catch small fish. They breed from the Maritimes to Alaska, and winter in the Caribbean and Central America. Like Ovenbirds they are loud singers but are more musical. Sexes are alike.


Ovenbird 5/25/16


These little birds of the forest look like a miniature thrush, but are actually one of the bigger warblers. Males have a huge voice shouting Teacher! Teacher! Teacher! Teacher! at the top of their lungs, even in the middle of the day. Females weave a domed nest on the ground with a side entrance and when it’s finished she hides it with leaves, twigs and other debris. They are tamer than you think and if you hear one close by stop and watch for it strutting around the forest floor looking for bugs and grubs to snack on, occasionally flying up to a low branch.


Black and White Warbler 5/10/16


Warblers are falling out of the sky in waves right now and even the Black and White ones are colorful. They are among the first of our warbler migrants, with a thin windup song and a habit of creeping around tree trunks to forage for insects much like nuthatches do. Despite spending all that time in trees, they nest on the forest floor.


Butterbutt 11/4/15


Fall warblers are one of the biggest challenges for birdwatchers to ID, when bright contrasting breeding colors give way to much less distinctive wardrobes. Butterbutts, more properly known as Yellow-rumped Warblers, are relatively easy to tell from other warblers by their bright yellow rumps, which are prominent in all plumages. They are one of the later migrating warblers here as many breed far to the north. Many warblers come in 7 basic plumages—both adult and immature males and females make up the 4 spring plumages. The 3 fall plumages are the nonbreeding adult males and females and finally the juveniles born in summer. The most colorful of the 7 is the breeding or spring male, and the most drab is the sexless juvenile, with the other plumages creating a spectrum in between. Above is an adult fall female.


Ovenbird 5/17/15


Ovenbirds act much like the spotted thrushes that also live and and forage on this forest floor, but this bird is smaller and belongs to the warblers. I didn’t hear this one singing Teacher! Teacher! Teacher! at the top of its little lungs but it may just have been the wrong time of day, or is too early in the season (I only saw one where often I find dozens in this stretch of woods and expect this one has just arrived) or is a female.


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