Sunday, May 30, 2010


A cracking morning with loads of passerines on the move; sometime mid-count Chris radioed to say he'd found a Mockingbird so me and Jason thought we'd go look for it; Phil said he'd hold the fort. Then Chris and Nova said they'd found a Bay Breasted Warbler near the mist nets so we went for that instead. While looking around the area it was obvious there was a pocket of bird activity near a small pond, including a Yellow Bellied Flycatcher giving great views. While waiting quietly in some pines by the pond a close warbler passed through some willows about 15 feet away, about 5 feet off the ground. In my bins i could see that it had a plain dark grey head with no hint of a supercilium at all, but a very strikingly bold white eyering. I quickly scanned the plumage for distinguishing features and noted yellow underparts, fairly plain concolourous dark upperparts across the head, mantle and wings with strong black streaks on the upper mantle; in the brief view i wasn't struck by any bold wingbars. The breast was unpatterned but there were black streaks on the rear flanks. It quickly moved on and I was immediately thinking Kirtlands but wanted to check a field guide for confusion species. Luckily Geoff had one nearby, and i was able to eliminate a first spring female Magnolia due to their contrasting wings and mantle, lack of dark streaks on the upper mantle; paler head and mantle and usually, presence of either fairly obvious wingbars, a hint of a post-ocular supercilium or some patterning on the upper breast. I staked out the spot for about 2 hours but it seems the bird was just passing through, though i did find Least and Alder Flycatchers, Wilsons, female Mourning and probable female Tennessee Warbler and interestingly a female Magnolia which Geoff had reported, this being noticeably different to the bird i saw. I'm really pleased to have found a good Point bird which i've been hoping to do since i started here, though it's tinged with disappointment that it didn't stay around for others to enjoy; i can understand why some people have shown some scepticism, as i've been on the other side of the fence many times myself! However as i've said to a couple of folks whilst i've been here, i never claim a bird unless i'm at least 110% certain of the ID. I was lucky enough to find another life bird too, a Great Crested Flycatcher behind the shack, though unfortunately only NTVs were obtained of the Olive Sided Flycatcher in the same area as it flew back south, though it had been calling loudly and frequently.
Canada Geese continue to go through, with 366. Still some White Winged Scoter and R B Merganser too with 27 and 33 respectively. 42 Common Loons was more than in recent days, while 19 D C Cormorant included a flock of 16. Shorebirds were noticeable with 9 S P Plover and 16 Sanderling.
Here's an evening view from the beach to help you get an idea of the scenery:


Anonymous said...

wow, I wish I had your job or at least a similar job. as I read all the WPBO updates I can't help but to think how lucky people are who have jobs like this, doing research and being able to do that research outside and see so many amazing animals and places. as always I wish I was there, Julie

WPBO said...

Hi Julie, you are right we are lucky and we should remember that. Sometimes i can forget that for a while!
I left a steady job because i wanted to work more closely with birds, well i'll never have much money but i'm a lot happier! I've had an enjoyable time here, even if it was a little quiet at times! I hope you manage to get up here before too long.
All the best,