Friday, October 26, 2012

Orange-crowned Warbler - 2012

 This uncommon species to Newfoundland has been a difficult bird to find and to identify.  This is my third sighting of the Orange-Crowned Warbler, and I am batting zip when it comes to identifying them.  First, they don't stay around very long.
Second, they are among the confusing warblers, and each bird transitions into its winter plumage at a different rate.  This one is unusually yellow for this time of the year.  I have yet to see the head well enough to actually see the crown for which it is named.
This week, I was downtown standing and watching the visiting Dickcissel among a large flock of House Sparrows.  When the total flock backed off a bit, I decided to pish a bit to see if they might return.  Much to my surprise, in flew this little warbler and perched in a tree just above me.
 For all of the minute it was present, it was blocked by some twigs or just not looking at me.  I did the best I could to get some record shots so that I could find out what it was. Once identified, I returned to my file shots of the OCW and found they really don't look much like this one at all. The guide description describes this bird as being olive-gray above but in winter looking more gray.  It also says there is a faint eye line, no wing bars and faint streaking on the  breast. The eye-line on this bird seems to be broken and not really faint at all.  I couldn't see any breast streaking at all.  More than confusing, this is confounding!
On September 29th, I caught a quick look at this Orange-crowned Warbler in Blackhead.  Again, I had to ask for help to identify it.  Now that I am building a collection of pictures of its backside, which seems to be about all I see of this bird, I am hoping the next time I will be able to know what I am looking at.

I guess it is natural to struggle with an ID when I have only seen three of these birds in total and each one for a very brief time. Next time I see a dull yellow bird with olive-green or gray above, I am going to go straight to the Orange-crowned Warbler to either nail the ID or to eliminate it.

Let's hope I get to see a lot!

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