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I spent 45 minutes this morning watching the Blackburnian Warbler. The black and white stripes on the gray back were easily observable at times, as was the triangular facial mark.
The bright orangey-yellow color in yesterday's photos was rarely visible; the face and breast mostly looked plain yellow except when the bird sat face-on in full sun. The bird's mantle plumage often appeared olive as it fed among leaves, and the white striping also faded toward leaf color. But completely damning against my original ID was the bird's behavior, as it followed the exact route through the same bushes, trees, and on the street surface along Pierce that I had seen on previous days. No other similar warbler was present during this period, though a male Black-throated Gray showed up briefly to add to the interesting mix of warbler species. On Xeno-Canto, Blackburnian and Blackpoll sound very similar to my western ears.
So I have to drop the 2-bird theory and accept that between my initial observation while walking with a friend on the 23rd without binoculars, and checking references many hours later, I mis-remembered the marks I had seen, while on the 25th I never had decent looks, as the bird fed frenetically in poor light, and I was trying photograph it instead of observe it. Despite those mitigating circumstances, it's still disturbing to think that I screwed up the amount of yellow on the body, and the face pattern. And of course if I had known that Blackpolls are nearly unprecedented in December, I would have treated this find much more carefully.
I make quick errors all the time, shooting from the hip while out in the field, but I usually catch them during research before reporting. I offer my mea culpa, and an inadvertent Christmas present to the several personal critics who have been trying for years to catch me in a public error.
On Wed, Dec 25, 2019 at 11:44 PM Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...
I've just returned home from holiday events and viewed the photos that Rudy or Oscar obtained. Their bird is a classic Blackburnian, and not the bird I saw on the 23rd and this morning. I'll make another attempt tomorrow, as photo documentation is clearly needed. And I really want to see what color the feet are!
The Patagonia Effect between the Log Cabin and the Arboretum this fall topped out at 10 rare species, so having 2 at Duboce Park is not out of the question. The question is, are there more than 2?
Hey All, Rudy Wallen and I just found/refound a beautiful blackburnian warbler at Duboce Park. I am not sure if this is the same warbler Brian had, but it gave great looks and the ID was unquestionable. Photos later.
On Dec 25, 2019, at 12:17 PM, Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...> wrote:
Pines are supposed to have unstreaked backs. They appear big and somewhat lethargic compared to their close cousins, and they really like pines.
If I'm right, I'm right, if I'm wrong and it's a Pine, I'll be really happy.
Hey Brian, nothing you described eliminates pine warbler. I think the fact it was feeding on the ground is actually suggestive it might be a piwa. I’m gonna go take a look.
On Dec 25, 2019, at 9:47 AM, Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...> wrote:
The bird is still present this morning on the same block of Pierce. I heard it chipping during a brief try around 8:30, and found it in a tree with white flowers where Pierce ends in Duboce Park. The bird was actively feeding and allowed no good views (while doggers looked at me as if I was scarier than any of our local meth addicts). I tried to obtain photos with no luck, and despite having binos this time, I was unable to study the flanks well or note the foot color. It was briefly with Yellow-rumpeds and a single Orange-crowned, so this site seems to be supplying the warblers with a feast.
The bird still looks like a Blackpoll, with a dark eyeline and weak yellow supercilium, front 2/3rds yellowish ventrally, white vent, olive back with fine dark streaks and no pale lines, ruling out Blackburnian and Pine, and some streaks along the flanks with no hint of any bay colored wash. I think it's a 1st year, but won't wager my life on it yet.
The bird spent time on the ground among curb plantings, was briefly on the street under a car, in several street trees, and then turned onto Waller and flew east out of sight into the densest street trees I know of in town. I'll try again in a while before heading to the East Bay for holiday events.
On Tue, Dec 24, 2019 at 11:46 AM Brian Fitch <fogeggs@...
I've received notice from Southern California that Blackpoll Warblers are exceedingly rare anywhere on the continent at this season. I'm deep into Christmas hosting duties, and won't be able to look for the bird again until the 26th. So if anyone with a camera has time and inclination to search for the bird and document it, it would help the record keepers with their concerns.
Yesterday(12/23), while walking the neighborhood with a visiting friend, a Blackpoll Warbler popped out of some curb side plants and up into a leafless tree. I had no binos, but didn't need them as the bird sat and posed for good viewing. This was along Pierce St., the first tree north of Duboce Park, on the east side of the street. My first year bird since the booby in early November...