Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What a Day + Warbler Faces

[I wonder how many people saw this Black-throated Green Warbler next to the hawk watch pavilion in Cape May Point State Park, NJ Monday morning. It was one of at least two that spent the day there. Very yellow face, with muted dark cheek.]
"Don!" Richard Crossley's voice was quietly urgent, and when I looked up from chatting about what an incredible day it was, he nodded towards the pine bough behind me with a knowing photographer's smile. I turned, and there was the cooperative Black-throated Green Warbler at arm's length.
Cameron Rutt did a fine job summing up Monday, the recipe for which by the way, reads like this:
  • Late September
  • Cold front the day before
  • Continuing west northwest winds
  • Cape May, NJ
  • (optional) some kind of insect hatch near the Cape May ponds for warbler food.
  • Mix the above, and take the day off.
After morning flight, like Cameron I spent much of the day pursuing warblers around Cape May Point, especially in the cedars near the hawk watch platform and also around Lily Lake, two places that often shine throughout the day, not just in the morning (and often not even in the morning, as birds seem to find these spots later in the day and linger to feed.)
There's sometimes a bit of bird desperation in these venues, with people rushing here and there to see a bird heard about. My advice is to be patient, let the birds appear in front of you, and stay on the edges of the habitat, not in it - give the birds room to forage on the edge, and they'll come to the edge.
 [A number of people called this bird a female Blackburnian Warbler, but it's actually a fairly typical Pine Warbler. The yellow is too extensive and not the unique kind of peachy color of a Blackburnian, and the face pattern, with yellow eye arcs and supercilium forming a yellow spectacle, wrong for Blackburnian. But, I understand - everyone wants a Blackburnian, and one had been seen nearby (see below). Next to the Cape May Point State Park Hawk Watch pavilion on Monday.]

Nate Swick wrote a blog recently about how fall warblers aren't confusing. I tend to agree, with certain exceptions like "Baypolls" (Bay-breasted and Blackpoll, perhaps a candidate for this week's "Fri-D" blog.) Look carefully at warbler faces, and you'll see even in fall the pattern, however muted, of spring males. Most of the time.

 [In the evening this genuine female Blackburnian Warbler came to the edge of the Cape May Point State Park cedars to feed. Besides the yellow throat (just throat), look carefully at the face for the characteristic Blackburnian dark cheek-with-a-hook.]

[I had to go over to Lily Lake to find this Cape May Warbler. Streaked breast with yellow (but some females show no yellow), yellow or at least pale frame below and behind the dark cheek.]

1 comment:

  1. You really got close to some of these birds! it ust have been exciting action and great photos too!