Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bulletin #137 - migration #3 - warblers

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood TX

(Click on the photos to see a larger image)

The Worm-eating Warbler (Helmithiros vermivorus) is a plain brown warbler with a neatly striped top of the head, which makes an easy ID. It one of my favorites because it is uncommon. I still remember seeing my lifer at High Island years ago. This photo was taken at LaFitte's Cove, Galveston.

The Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca) is my favorite due to its vibrant coloration. The male is black and white with a brilliant orange face and throat. Here are 2 photos of a bird at Quintana. The first is in a tree above the drip and the second on the rocks around the pool at the base of the drip.

The Kentucky Warbler (Oporornis formosus) is another secretive bird that is easiest to see during migration. The bird is yellow below and olive above. He has no wing bars, but has a unique black mustache on the face. In the male, shown here, the mustache extends onto the breast. He was found at LaFitte's Cove.

The Blue-winged Warbler (Vermivora cyanoptera) is a bright yellow bird with blue wings and 2 white wing bars. He aslo has a black line through the eye to the beak. The sexes are similar. This has been one of nemesis birds over the years, but this year I finally saw several birds and obtained my best photos of this species. This photo was taken at LaFitte's Cove.

 Here is a great side by side comparison of the 2 predominately black and white colored warblers. The male Black-and-white Warbler (Mniotilta varia) has a striped top of head, and a black cheek and throat.

The female of the same species has the similarly striped crown, but the cheek and throat are white.

The other species is the Blackpoll Warbler (Dendroica striata). The male of this species has a solid black crown with white face. He also has a faint yellowish wash on the wings. Also, the legs are orange-pink. This is another good field mark for this species. These 3 birds were all photgraphed at LaFitte's Cove.

In the last bulletin, I showed the different field marks for the 2 species of waterthrushes. However, if you look in the field guides, there are 2 color variants of the Northern Waterthrush (Parkesia novaboracensis). Note, the scientific name has changed for this species. The genus was previously Seiurus. The 2 color variants are white and yellow. I found both of them this year. The first is the whiter bird. It has a white eye stripe similar to the Louisiana Waterthrush and is thus a more difficult ID problem, but look at the leg color.

Here is the more familiar yellowish bird. The eye stripe and flanks are a buffy yellow color.

Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2011 David McDonald

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