Waterthrush at Albany Hill Park (plus 'Solitary' Vireo, etc)


Noah Arthur
 

Hi everyone. This afternoon I visited Albany Hill Park, my new favorite migrant trap, and had a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH along the creek on the north side of the park, near the stand of poplars where the Parula was last fall. He was very secretive, popping up on a branch by the creek and doing the customary hip-hop moves of his kind before flying off to who-knows-where in the undergrowth. (This is the section of the creek that borders the back of the Pacific West Mall building. County birders, keep in mind that this creek marks the line between Alameda and Contra Costa! If anybody wants to look for the bird and needs a map, email me).
 
 The other interesting bird was a 'SOLITARY' VIREO that at first appeared almost entirely gray and white, with just a hint of yellow at the wing-bend and _seemingly_ drab off-white secondary-edgings. However, some of the pictures I got show a strong greenish wing-panel on the secondaries and even some green in the back, like Cassin's, leaving me unsure whether to believe the photos or what I thought I saw on the bird itself. Still, the complete lack of yellow in the flanks makes me think Plumbeous is a possibility...
 
There were other migrants around as well, although most were scattered and rather sluggish given the time of day. One silent Empidonax at first suggested Least Flycatcher, with a prominent whitish eye-ring, whitish belly, drab upperparts, and very bright buff wing-bars, but had a strong wash of yellow across the breast (suggesting Blackpoll Warbler!), which makes me think it's a 'Western' Flycatcher. Be careful of this bird! (Or, alternatively, turn it into a Least for me!) Warblers were YELLOW, WILSON'S, and ORANGE-CROWNED.
 
Noah Arthur, Oakland

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