Sunday, 10 September 2017

New Warblers banded at SpruceHaven

     09 and 10 September 2017

     As usual, we met dark and early to open the nets and get ready for a productive day of banding. Wood warblers are moving through on their way to Central and South America and we were able to establish the presence in migration of species not previously banded this fall, and in the case of Bay-breasted Warbler (Setophaga castanea), ever.
     Everyone who has a North American field guide will be familiar with birds described as "confusing fall warblers." When birds have moulted their familiar breeding plumage they can appear quite different and for novice and experienced birder alike can present identification challenges. 
     Two species that can be quite easily confused in fall plumage are the above-mentioned Bay-breasted Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler (Setophaga striata), both quite distinct from each other in breeding plumage.
     Here are the factors that determine the identity of each one.

Bay-breasted Warbler

Feet are the same colour as the legs
No streaks on the flanks

Blackpoll Warbler

Yellow feet
Streaked flanks

     Both species have streaking on the back.

     Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia) is a species that does not have quite the marked differences in non-breeding plumage that other warblers have.

     The always ebullient Francine Gilbert came out this morning (bringing coffee and muffins for everyone I might add) and delighted in seeing the birds and learning a little more about them. 

     A bird placed in her hand brings inexpressible joy to Francine. It is contagious to be around her and experience her constant wonderment, enthusiasm and fundamental pleasure in encounters with nature. I have watched Francine's knowledge grow exponentially and she has gone from sheer novice to proficient naturalist in record time.
     Everyone should have a Francine in their lives!

All species banded 09 September: Red-eyed Vireo (2), House Wren (1), Swainson's Thrush (1), American Robin (1), Common Yellowthroat (1), American Redstart (1), Bay-breasted Warbler (2), Blackpoll Warbler (2), American Goldfinch (1).  Total: 12

All species banded 10 Sepember: Traill's Flycatcher (1), Red-eyed Vireo (2), Tennessee Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (2), Magnolia Warbler (1), Wilson's Warbler (1), Song Sparrow (2), American Goldfinch (1).  Total: 11


  1. I have enough trouble with identifying warblers over here, David, without adding to the confusion by studying those from the Americas! That Magnolia Warbler is a little beauty, however. Not sure that Lindsay would approve of me having a Francine in my life!

    My love to you both - - - Richard

  2. Hello, the warblers are great finds. I have been seeing a few moving thru. I like the last shot of Francine holding the bird, cute. Have a happy day and new week ahead!

  3. Another real beauty David, and brilliant photos.

  4. These warblers are so great to see!

  5. Hi, David.

    Nice those little birds.

    Groettie from Patricia.

  6. Warblers! Clear evidence that evolution has a sense of humour!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

  7. Can I imagine Francie enjoying that, I would also do.
    Beautiful all the birds David.
    Greetings Tinie

  8. Thanks for the ID tips David. Unfortunately I don't think I will be able to put those to use any time soon.

    I just knew that coffee and muffins would be part of the day's programme.

    Me too. Sue might suddenly take an interest in ringing if there was a female trainee.

  9. Such pretty little birds but I am sure I would never get the identifications right! I love seeing them close up like this. Great photos David. Have a good day Diane

  10. So much knowledge! It really is eye opening reading about the differences. I suppose the information will help detect changes in our environment too. I hadn't thought of it before, but apparently lighting from cities can change the migratory patterns of birds. There are even special types of street lights that help to project light down rather than up?

  11. So many different warblers! The Magnolia Warbler is very beautiful.
    Have a lovely day and enjoy your week :)

  12. Hi David, another successful banding sessions withe the Warblers, the Magnolia Warbler is a real beauty. Super images. All the best to you both, John

  13. Kalimera David. Catch up with you soon Too hot to linger.

    1. Enjoy a sun-soaked, wine-filled vacation! Maybe look at a few birds too. Won't be long before I will be in Europe myself.

  14. I really like your very nice blog. Those birds are so beautiful. Love all your amazing pictures. Great job :)

  15. Wow, you had a load of birds, Warblers every time, thanks David.

  16. looks like a win-win friendship there .... Francine gets to learn about birds, you get to teach her and you all get to share the joy! The warblers are wonderful.

  17. These birds are LOVELY and you captured them magnificently!

  18. Here I am supporting the beleaguered Greek economy by buying a few classes of ouzo and all I get is insults.

    When you're in Europe pop over to Pilling to ring some real birds .

  19. Here I am supporting the beleaguered Greek economy by buying a few classes of ouzo and all I get is insults.

    When you're in Europe pop over to Pilling to ring some real birds .