24 June 2024

Posts Tagged ‘yellow-throated warbler’

Christmas Count adventures

Saturday, December 19th, 2015
Purple Sandpiper, Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Purple Sandpiper.

Up early for the annual National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count (CBC) for our neck of the woods. This year, we diverged a bit from our customary first leg—the Rockland Breakwater—to make sure we recorded a noteworthy bird in our region: a Yellow-throated Warbler that had been seen for the past several days on the grounds of the Samoset Resort. Got it.

Common Ravens, Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Common Ravens.

The weather was balmy compared to most CBCs I remember—low- to mid-30s (F). (Typically, it seems like it’s been 12 degrees with a high wind.) But that meant odd birds, and not that many of ’em. Instead of a dozen or so Purple Sandpipers, for instance, we got one. Instead of fifty-plus species, we got forty-something. Since I never do the afternoon trip, I got thirty-four.

But those included two “warblers”: the yellow-throated and a Yellow-breasted Chat (arguably not really a warbler)—only the second of that species I’ve ever seen. Also a pair of vocal ravens flew over, and we had a little flurry of bird activity near the cemetery, and we counted about a hundred coots.

Ring-billed Gull, Samoset Resort, Rockport, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Ring-billed Gull.

Afterward, I rescued a house-bound Jack and we took a quick Beech Hill hike. Only two species up there today.

Windy as hell tonight.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 2:15 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. American Crow* (v)
2. Black-capped Chickadee* (v)


3. American Goldfinch
4. Herring Gull
5. Mallard
6. House Sparrow
7. Common Raven
8. Yellow-throated Warbler
9. Ring-billed Gull
10. Canada Goose
11. Common Eider
12. Red-necked Grebe
13. Horned Grebe
14. White-breasted Nuthatch
15. American Black Duck
16. Great Black-backed Gull
17. Long-tailed Duck
18. Surf Scoter
19. Purple Sandpiper
20. Black Guillemot
21. Great Cormorant
22. Bufflehead
23. Yellow-breasted Chat
24. Rock Pigeon
25. Tufted Titmouse
26. Brown Creeper
27. Downy Woodpecker
28. Red-tailed Hawk
29. Hairy Woodpecker
30. Common Goldeneye
31. Bonaparte’s Gull
32. American Coot

v = Voice only
*Also elsewhere

Owls Head Light, from the Rockland Breakwater, Rockland, Maine, 19 December 2015.

Owls Head Light.

Yellow-throated warbler

Tuesday, September 28th, 2010
Yellow-throated warbler, Monhegan Island, Maine, 28 September 2010.

Yellow-throated warbler.

Ever since I caught sight of my first yellow-throated warbler, I’d had a nagging wish to see it again but nearer and for a longer period—i.e., posing for a photo.

Yellow-throated vireo, Monhegan Island, Maine, 28 September 2010.

Yellow-throated vireo.

But first thing this morning, Kristen and I set off through rain toward Lobster Cove in hopes of spotting the yell0w-breasted chat everyone’s been talking about. After about five minutes, the sun emerged from behind a ceiling of clouds, and we grew hopeful. No chat, though. Nor any of the common warblers we hadn’t yet seen—black-throated green, black-and-white, black-throated blue. We did, however, see a nice aerial dogfight between a merlin and a peregrine.

Then a few of us trekked to the ballfield and around behind the school house and over to the Ice Pond on our mission for new warblers. Instead, we saw a dickcissel and an exotic sparrow or two.

No black-throated green, no black-throated blue. But we did hear from other birders that the yellow-throated warbler was still hanging around. Not until we were headed back for lunch and ran into Bryan Pfeiffer (of Vermont Bird Tours), did we think to take a little side trip along the harbor road to where we saw the yellow-throated yesterday. Sure enough, a couple noted birding experts had their binoculars trained up into some spruces, and before long we were staring ourselves up into a spruce above the road itself at the lovely little bird as it pecked around in the boughs. It lingered. It gave us some great looks. It didn’t seem to mind the little cluster of humans all observing it from just a few feet below. And I got some photos.

That made my day.

But the day wasn’t done: soon after, a couple hundred yards away, we were gazing up into an apple tree that contained a yell0w-throated vireo—another life bird for me. (Not one, but two yell0w-throated songbirds!) And then we saw a Tennessee warbler.

The weather was fickle, breeze and warm, overcast then sunny, a spattering of rain. Tonight the stars have emerged, and I hear the sound of the ocean out my window. Crazily, I ended up with the same number of species as yesterday.

I love this island.

Brown creeper, Monhegan Island, Maine, 28 September 2010.

Brown creeper.

Monhegan List
(Not in order of sighting.)

1. Mallard
2. Blue-winged teal
3. Common eider
4. Ring-necked pheasant
5. Northern gannet
6. Double-crested cormorant
7. Great blue heron
8. Osprey
9. Sharp-shinned hawk
10. Merlin
11. Peregrine falcon
12. Herring gull
13. Great black-backed gull
14. Black guillemot
15. Mourning dove
16. Belted kingfisher
17. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
18. Downy woodpecker
19. Northern flicker
20. Eastern phoebe
21. Yellow-throated vireo
22. Red-eyed vireo
23. Blue jay
24. American crow
25. Common raven
26. Black-capped chickadee
27. Red-breasted nuthatch
28. White-breasted nuthatch
29. Brown creeper
30. Carolina wren
31. House wren
32. Golden-crowned kinglet
33. American robin
34. Gray catbird
35. Brown thrasher
36. Cedar waxwing
37. Tennessee warbler
38. Yellow-rumped warbler
39. Yellow-throated warbler
40. Palm warbler
41. Blackpoll warbler
42. Common yellowthroat
43. Chipping sparrow
44. Clay-colored sparrow
45. Savannah sparrow
46. Song sparrow
47. Swamp sparrow
48. White-throated sparrow
49. Dickcissel
50. Rusty blackbird
51. Baltimore oriole
52. Purple finch
53. American goldfinch

Tennessee warbler, Monhegan Island, Maine, 28 September 2010.

Tennessee warbler.

The miracle of falcons

Monday, September 27th, 2010
Rusty blackbird, Monhegan Island, Maine, 27 September 2010.

Rusty blackbird.

Overcast and a bit misty this early morning on Monhegan. Right away, my friend Kristen and I spotted a rusty blackbird in an apple tree in town. One species you can count on finding here in fall is rusty blackbird—I bird I personally don’t see anywhere else. But the most inspiring thing you can count on seeing here at this time of year, at least in my opinion, is the miracle of falcons.

Merlin, Monhegan Island, Maine, 27 September 2010.


After breakfast, Kristen, Monhegan pal (and birder extraordinaire) Bill, and I headed down to Lobster Cove, on the southwest side of the island. Word had it that, in the thickets along the trail down, we might see a yellow-breasted chat and/or a marsh wren and/or some other crazy songbirds I’d love to see. Instead, we saw beaucoup yellow-rumps, swamp sparrows, white-throated sparrows, song sparrows, a catbird, and northern gannets fishing offshore. And falcons.

Merlins, mostly. These small, speedy, feisty birds-of-prey seem both fearless, pugnacious, and eager to do battle. They’d wiggle their wings in anticipation as they’d dive for flickers, goldfinchs, and herring gulls alike. We even saw a merlin dive at a peregrine falcon—a much larger and (arguably) more fearsome bird—seemingly without a care in the world. And more than once we’d be looking off into a thicket in hopes of spying some tiny warbler or sparrow or wren, when a dark blur would sweep through an overgrown opening in the trail near us: a merlin on the prowl. What sleek, expert flier and killing machine. And fun to watch.

Palm warbler, Monhegan Island, Maine, 27 September 2010.

Palm warbler.

We also saw some pint-sized kestrels. And peregrines are a marvel to behold. But there’s just something to love about a merlin. We must’ve seen three or four dozen of them (although of course some could’ve been the same bird). Several peregrines. A couple kestrels. Which leads me to ask: where else can you go at any time of year and be sure to see so many falcons? Maybe somewhere, but nowhere I know. It’s just a miracle. A circus. An incredible show.

Other highlights of this day included my first-ever yellow-throated warbler, my first ever sora, dickcissels, clay-colored sparrows, and a lark sparrow in the rain.

Monhegan List
(Not in order of sighting.)

1. Mallard
2. Commen eider
3. Ring-necked pheasant
4. Northern gannet
5. Double-crested cormorant
6. Osprey
7. Bald eagle
8. Northern harrier
9. Sharp-shinned hawk
10. American kestrel
11. Merlin
12. Peregrine falcon
13. Sora
14. Herring gull
15. Great black-backed gull
16. Mourning dove
17. Belted kingfisher
18. Yellow-bellied sapsucker
19. Northern flicker
20. Eastern phoebe
21. Red-eyed vireo
22. Blue jay
23. American crow
24. Common raven
25. Black-capped chickadee
26. Red-breasted nuthatch
27. Carolina wren (voice)
28. Golden-crowned kinglet
29. American robin
30. Gray catbird
31. Cedar waxwing
32. Yellow-rumped warbler
33. Yellow-throated warbler
34. Palm warbler
35. Blackpoll warbler
36. Common yellowthroat
37. Chipping sparrow
38. Clay-colored sparrow
39. Lark sparrow
40. Savannah sparrow
41. Song sparrow
42. Lincoln’s sparrow
43. Swamp sparrow
44. White-throated sparrow
45. Dark-eyed junco
46. Dickcissel
47. Bobolink (voice)
48. Rusty blackbird
49. Common grackle
50. Baltimore oriole
51. Purple finch
52. Pine siskin
53. American goldfinch

Lark sparrow, Monhegan Island, Maine, 27 September 2010.

Lark sparrow.

Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

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