Thursday was the first day in a long time that I have seen a lot of small birds flying all around the woods. Several different species in one area was enough to keep my feet planted for more than an hour enjoying the show. One-by-one, I would spot and recognize each species...and then, I caught a brief glimpse of this bird. I didn't know what it was. My senses perked up; my brain began to flip through the images in my memory. Methodically, I began eliminating one species after another. What was this? Typical of so many "different" little birds, this one was elusive. It disappeared.
Ugh! What was that? Then, without warning, I caught sight of it again. This time from the rear. All I could tell was I didn't know what the bird was. In a flash, it was gone again! My eyes darted around the area, but couldn't see it again.
Then, at last, it showed itself. Shadow aside, I knew I had a picture clear enough and complete enough to identify it later. I watched it for the few seconds it had to give me. It slipped out of sight again, but....
then it popped out in the open to give me a good look. I checked my field guide and quickly realized it was not a rare warbler, but there was no bird to match this one. It was then my memory clicked in of a similar experience in the same area in September of last year. It must be among the confusing warblers. At last, there it was...an immature Magnolia Warbler. This picture even shows the developing dark stripes on the breast. Once again, I learned something new. I didn't know these birds would appear in July.
It is really amazing how this dull little gray and yellow bird will evolve into this handsome black and yellow adult. The Magnolia was so named because it was first seen in a Magnolia Tree. It is interesting that the breeding range map for this species does not reach into the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland. Yet, this is two years in a row that I have seen a juvenile Magnolia on Blackhead Road. I spotted an adult sitting on a wire on the same road not too long ago. Clearly, the Magnolia is breeding here.
After reading your blog regarding the strange bird being a juvenile Magnolia Warbler, I immediately looked it up in Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America and there was pictured the same juvenile. I just bought this book today and I am impressed with the 4-5 photos of each individual bird showing various phases and plumages. This book is a treasure and includes a CD of 600 bird saons - a bargain at $27.00, if you ask me. Happy birding !ReplyDelete