Saturday, July 16, 2011

Warblers: Newfoundland Spring and Summer 2011

 While awaiting the arrival of the return of the small songbirds in the Spring, I most anticipated seeing the warblers. To me, they are the most colorful, variable and vocal of all the small birds.
This year they were late coming, perhaps due to the late arrival of Spring.  When they came, they sang their heads off. This lasted for about two weeks and then the song began to taper off. There were a few days when I stood among the trees at Bidgood's Park and was serenaded by many unique songs of the  different species. Sometimes it sounded like an orchestra warming up with dissonant sounds and at other times it was sheer harmony.
 The warblers would frequently sit atop a branch and sing and sing. The songs of the Black and White Warbler and this Blackpoll Warbler are not as melodious as the others. They have a much more terse, thin sound. It was common to hear the Black and White call coming from lower on the tree and deep within a tree or brush.

The Common Yellowthroat Warbler is not that common in the St. John's area. This one was spotted on the Southern Shore near Fermeuse. It did not stay long and would not fully expose itself before flitting off back into the woods. While I was able to see it through the branches, the camera could not capture a full view.
 This Magnolia Warbler was spotted on Power's Road about 5 km in. It wouldn't come close and this was the best look that I got at it this year. This is considered a common bird here but I have only seen this one so far this year.
That is the exact opposite of the Northern Waterthrush. This little warbler has been and continues to be extremely common this year. It sang loudly in Goulds for over a month and I still, occasionally, hear this bird singing in the woods.
It is not as secretive as some birds and has been very accessible to watch and photograph.
I have seen a lot of Wilson's Warblers this year. They seem more plentiful than last year, but then again, I may just be looking in more of the right places this year.
Last year when I first saw the warblers, I was in a bit of a stupor. I had never noticed these colorful birds before and couldn't believe I was seeing them here in Newfoundland. During that time, I did learn to identify some of the more common ones and it was a real thrill when they returned this year and I knew exactly what they were. The Wilson's is one of these easily identifiable birds with its yellow body and black cap.
 Yet, if there has to be a designation of the most plentiful warbler in the St. John's area it would have to be the Yellow-rumped Warbler (an early "arrivant") followed by the Yellow Warbler.
The Yellow Warbler can be seen in most any wooded area and has even appeared in my back yard. For the brief time last evening when the rain stopped, I sat on my deck and watched and listened to a Yellow Warbler as it flitted around the trees. I never tire of seeing these beautiful, charming little birds.
These last two pictures were taken on the Virginia River Trail during a brief weather break. The most "birdy" section of that trail seems to be between Newfoundland Drive and McDonald Drive.
One of my favorite finds this year is this Mourning Warbler which is known to not show itself very often. It is the little surprises like this that add a real element of excitement to bird watching. It is a delight to see the expected birds but it is sheer excitement when a different or less common bird puts in an appearance.

By far, the Yellow-rumped Warbler has been the most common warbler that I have seen this summer. It is put in an early appearance leading the way for the other warblers and continues to show itself in the woods. I saw this bird again yesterday.  They seem very curious and often come out and show themselves very easily.

So far this year I have seen nine different Warblers. That is less than last year but I may still have an opportunity to see a Black-throated Green and maybe a Tennessee
Warbler. I will certainly keep looking.  Maybe when this most recent spell of bad weather passes, the birds will all pop out to celebrate.

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