Thursday, August 8, 2013

A Tricky Little Common Yellowthroat Warbler

 Regularly checking the East Coast Trail beyond Cape Spear has become a part of my routine. On week days this is a peaceful, often "birdy" place.

So far this year, it takes a little patience to uncover the birds hiding away in this area. On my last trip to this area, I heard  persistent chipping coming from the woods about 15 feet from the trail.
At first, I thought this was probably a Swamp Sparrow as they have been plentiful in this area. Yet, the chip was different.
I watched and waited. Then a small bird popped out at the top of a tree. Lighting was bright, and the color was different. I started snapping as I watched this bird move from tree to tree.
It was often out in the open and high in the trees. I was still chasing this little bird well past its first appearance and had yet to identify it.
Then finally, I got full frontal look and realized this was a Common Yellowthroat.
I was somewhat confused because the behaviour was not what I typically find with this species.
Closer looks at the pictures suggest this may be an immature bird who didn't realize it is supposed to stay hidden and low in the bushes, not high in the branches. The excess fluffy feathers on the sides made me think this. Also in the mix is the possibility this may be an adult bird molting. There are some mottled blotches on its breast which are not typical of the Common Yellowthroat as it is supposed to have a bright yellow throat and breast. Despite all of the abnormalities about this bird, the one aspect of its behavior common to this species was that it stayed in the area where I was for over 30 minutes. I have often found this with these little birds. If this one had stayed low and mostly hidden, I would have identified it quickly by its behaviour alone.

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