Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Bulletin #109 – Spring Migration #4 - warblers

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas
April 27, 2010

Bulletin #109 – Spring Migration #4 - warblers

Hello friends,

As April comes to an end, spring migration peaks. The past week has been exceptional, with 35+ species of warbler reported from High Island and Sabine Woods (near Louisiana border). A strong front and westerly wind brought many western birds to our area including Bullock’s Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, Western Kingbird, Yellow-headed Blackbird and a vagrant Fork-tailed Flycatcher.
I visited LaFitte’s Cove on Galveston, afternoons from Friday to Sunday and was rewarded with lots of wonderful birds.

The highlight was a cooperative male Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca). This striking orange, black and white bird normally stays high in the canopy, but this one fed in some small saplings at eye level. All the birders and photographers were rewarded with their best views of this bird.

In this photo, he is hanging sideways on a branch. I marvel at the relative strength of his leg muscles to assume this posture!

Kentucky Warblers (Oporornis formosus) were well represented and I was able to compare plumage differences. Here is a male with the black ‘mustache’.

The female has a dark shadow on the cheek rather than a black area. She is also not as bright yellow on the breast.

There were also several plumages of the Northern Parula (Parula americana). This bird has a yellow throat and lower mandible, green back, gray head and white breast. The adults have a brown breast band. The also have white eye arcs.

This 1st year female lacks the breast band.

This interesting bird must have eaten a spider and has a long string of the spider web over her head.

The Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia) is all yellow without any white marks. Even the wing-bar is yellow. This is a male with the red streaks on the breast. The female would lack these streaks.

 The Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora pinus) is all yellow with blue-gray wings and 2 white wing-bars. There is a black line through the eye.


This male Chestnut-sided Warbler (Dendroica pensylvanica) is an easy ID with the yellow cap, chestnut stripes and yellow tinged wings.

Lastly, there are several drab brown warblers. The first of these is the Worm-eating Warbler (Helmitheros vermivorus). It is IDed by the striped head as this bird clearly shows.

And one of the more difficult warblers to see is the secretive Swainson’s Warbler (Limnothlypis swainsonii). It is the only bird of this genus. It is IDed by the rufous cap on the head and pale stripe above the eye.

I will be leading a 9 day bird photography tour to Costa Rica in conjunction with Lillian Scott-Baer of Baer Travel March 3-11, 2011. We have worked out an itinerary to visit La Selva Preserve, Savegre Mountain Hotel in the central mountains for Resplendant Quetzal and other montane species and Wilson Botanical Gardens (Las Cruces). We have also retained the services of local guide Rudy Zamora to accompany us and locate and ID the birds for us to photograph. We will also have beautiful flowers and hopefully some mammals - tamanduas, monkeys etc.

I will be giving several talks in the evening on bird photography, Photoshop etc.

The price will be $1960 double to $2380 single. This includes hotels, all meals, guide, transportation in Costa Rica etc. The only other cost will be airfare and personal purchases (alcohol, souvenirs etc) . Space is limited to 10 persons to maximize our opportunity to see and photograph the birds. I have birded in Costa Rica previously. It is a wonderful country to visit and the bird life is exceptional. I hope that you can join us.

Here is the schedule of payments for the trip.

$ 25 reservation fee (not refundable)
$ 575 due April 30, 2010
$ 600 due July 30, 2010
$ 740 due January 15, 2011
Please send deposits to:

ScoBar Inc.
34 Galway Place
The Woodlands, TX 77382

Note - we will try to pair up singles and triple would be $1890 per person.

There are only 2 spaces left for this trip as of today, so please email me, if interested.

All comments and suggestions are welcomed and appreciated.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

email: davidkmcd@comcast.net

photos copyright 2010 David McDonald

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