Orange-crowned Warbler, Albany Pine Bush Preserve 9/28


After observing at the bird-banding station this morning, I walked the first portion (northward leg) of the yellow trail counter-clockwise from the trailhead. At 11:30am I found a sizable and very diverse mixed-flock at the recently cleared, and now weedy open area just before the trail goes uphill and turns sharply to the east. This area is informally (but accurately) known as 'the catbird spot', as one can almost always hear or see a Gray Catbird or two when passing by. There are still grape vines on either side of the trail, they are just farther back on the west side. The flock grew larger while I was standing still and observing, and contained the following species and numbers, approximately: White-throated Sparrow (30), American Robin (15), Cedar Waxwing (25), Scarlet Tanager (1), Gray Catbird (3) (see!), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (4), Red-breasted Nuthatch (2), Blue Jay (8), Red-eyed Vireo (1), Philadelphia Vireo (1), Tennessee Warbler (2), Nashville Warbler (3), Blackpoll Warbler (4), Black-throated Blue Warbler (1) (nice adult male), Yellow-rumped Warbler (2), Black-throated Green Warbler (9). The sparrows were in the leaf litter.  The robins, catbirds, and waxwings were eating grapes and poison ivy berries. Blue Jays flew past with acorns in the mouths and crops. All the others were down low in the birches and weedy areas gleaning insects. It was one of those rare but happy situations in which you don't know what to look at next, as birds flit all about you. Two small birds came down to my eye level about twenty-five feet away, in a downed white birch. The first was a Nashville Warbler with its gray hood and white eye ring, they seem to like foraging down low as I can often find them in goldenrod and similar plants. The other bird was a drab yellow warbler, with a pointy bill and a vague eye line. I expected it to be an immature Tennessee Warbler, but the undertail coverts were yellow, not white. It had white arcs above and below the eye. Finally, a lifer Orange-crowned Warbler. This species wasn't on my radar quite yet, I think of trying to find them in October, when most of the other warblers have departed. So there are still plenty of migrants to come. Bird every bird.

Tom Williams 

Join to automatically receive all group messages.