Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Unusual Common Yellowthroat (Paruline masquée) in our backyard

01 May 2017

     Miriam called to me, "Come quickly!
     Looking out the window from the family room she had seen an odd looking bird, which she recognized as a Common Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas, but it had a very visible white crown. We both tried to get a picture, she from the downstairs window and I from the bedroom, but the bird flitted about nervously and was in and out of vegetation and we were unsuccessful. Finally the bird flew off.
     I decided to have a nap on the sofa and while I was asleep the bird returned and Miriam was able to capture a few shots.






     I have never seen a bird like this before and I can only conclude that leucism is responsible for this condition. As you can see there are white patches in its characteristic black mask in addition to the extensive white crown.
     Males (and this bird is a male) normally have a pale whitish band separating the mask from the olive rear crown and neck, as shown in the pictures below taken from my archives.




     Common Yellowthroats have recently returned from their winter quarters in Central America or the West Indies, and it was serendipitous that our first sighting this spring would be of this anomalous bird.
     Surely this all proves why birding is an eternal source of enjoyment and fascination. Perhaps it also serves to point out that it's good to have a wife who doesn't take an afternoon nap!

24 comments:

  1. A Yellowthroat turned up in Japan this winter and caused a huge stir, I think it was the first one ever.......

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  2. This is a great guest of the garden. Regards :)

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  3. This is a great guest in the garden. Regards :)

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  4. Moments like this are absolutely magical when they happen in one's backyard, David. How fortunate was that, that Miriam was there with her 'eagle eyes' while you were off in the land of nod. Why does that situation have a familiar ring to it?

    With love to you both - - Richard

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  5. Well done Miriam,great to see.
    John.

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  6. Very interesting! Great photos of this beautiful bird.
    Greetings!

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  7. So glad that Miriam managed to take some shots while you snored you way through the second visit. A bird that I certainly don't know, and would have been totally mystified if I had of tried to identify it from a book. Lucky for you it was in your garden, hopefully it will return and maybe with a family. Diane

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    1. Snores! I will have you know that I do not snore, but make gentle, soothing, sleepy murmurings! That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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  8. Thank's to Miriam, because you .... you sleep lol ^^
    Leucism is a good hypotesis.

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    1. I am also generally up at about 5:00 am and I have often done a couple of hours birding and walked three or four kilometres before she even gets out of bed.

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  9. Enhorabuena para tí y para Mariam!!! Fantástico reportaje amigo mío. Un abrazo desde España.

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  10. Beautiful photos here as always David, what a lovely spot! I love the flashes of yellow on their plumage, and it was interesting to read about the possibility of leucism here on this particular bird too. Thank you, as well, for the lovely comments on my last post too. - Tasha

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  11. Very interesting. I guess this amount of white colour doesn't affect his life very much. Lovely photos!

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  12. Hello David, I read all your blogs and enjoyed it a lot. You are so active with nature and birds that it was a lot to catch up with. So great to see all those young people envolved with ringing birds. Love also the captures of the Osprey that are beside the Peregrines my favorite birds. The captures of the Swallows made by your friend are lovely. Indeed difficult to capture them in flight. He did a great job. And than the surprise bird in your garden spotted again by Miriam. The captures she took are great. Thank you also for your comment on my latest blog and by reading about the protest you had it feels good to see that a lot of people are raising their voice at what leaders are trying to push down our troaths.
    Warm regards from Maaseik,
    Roos

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  13. HI David and well done Miriam, interesting blog on this delightful bird. You will have to "drop off" more often and then see what wonders Miriam can capture. All the best to you both. John

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  14. Hello David,
    So glad Miriam managed to take some pictures.
    These kinds of moments are great to meet with.
    The bird is beautiful.
    Best regards, Irma

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  15. Oh, how nice that this beautiful bird has visited your yard!!
    Thank you for sharing your photos!!
    Happy May !

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  16. Good Morning!!! That birds so exotic. Really cool pics ..

    Happy week ..

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  17. Magnificent bird, beautiful photos David.
    Greetings Tinie

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  18. Congratulations for the record, it is a very beautiful bird, it looks a lot like G. aequinoctialis that reaches my area during the summer

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  19. Wow ... great to discover this beautiful bird in your garden!
    I would jump into a hole if I could see it in my garden, but unfortunately it will never happen.
    Congratulations with this beautiful bird David.

    Best regards, Helma

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  20. Such beautiful colouring, lovely photographs.

    All the best Jan

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  21. You two have the best bird karma in the world. Can only imagine having this beautiful rarity turn up in your own yard! Wonderful.

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