Saturday, May 27, 2023

Canada Warbler

At my bird walk in New York City's Central Park we spent some time at the side of a small lake and a yellowish bird was flitting around in two trees on the side of the lake. There were five or six of us trying to take photos of the bird and I asked one what kind of bird it was and he said, a "Canada," which meant nothing to me. After lots of photos one of them asked me if I'd gotten any good photos and I replied that I had "no idea," but with all the photos I'd taken I hoped one or two would be decent. 
The bird was a Canada warbler, another bird I'd never heard of. It summers in portions of Canada and the northeastern U.S. and winters in northern South America. 
Canada warbler range from Wikipedia. 
One observation, now that I've looked up a number of these warblers, is that the warblers I saw were much skinnier than the ones I'm seeing in photos. I'm assuming that the ones I was seeing were on the tail-end of a long migration from South America to the U.S. and that their time in their summer range would fatten them up. 
The chest, throat and belly is yellow and it has a dark gray back. It has a black necklace which has wiggly strands, a yellow line in front of its eyes and white eyerings. Females are not as bright and have a shorter tail. 

Friday, May 26, 2023

Bay-Breasted Warbler

In New York City's Central Park in May I was on a bird walk with a guide and 30 other participants. It was a fairly aggressive group with lots of nice cameras and long telephoto lens, people with keen eyesight and a prodigious knowledge of New York City birds. I was two weeks away from lazer surgery on my eye to clean-up cloudiness that had developed from a prior cataract surgery that made even reading in that eye difficult. My good eye, which had cataracts not developed enough to warrant their removal, was 20/30, and it was very difficult for me to see birds. 

As we walked along, at one point, I remember someone saying excitedly, "a bay-breasted warbler" and the group rushed over for a look and flurry of photos. I thought, "I would really like a photo of that." 

When I got back home and started working on my photos, enlarging images and lightening up dark areas, I started to see warblers I'd heard discussed but had not knowingly seen. Two of those were  bay-breasted warblers. After the group had left a particularly productive area, I stayed back with a couple of other stragglers and photographed birds not knowing what I was photographing. I had no idea what a bay-breasted warbler looked like. I was excited to find that I'd photographed two of those coveted warblers. 
The bay-breasted warbler breeds mostly in Canada, about Great Lakes level along the border with the U.S., and west into central Canada, going further north. It then migrates south for the winter, to southern Central America, northern South America (portions of Colombia and Venezuela) and the Caribbean Islands (which the map does not reflect). I probably caught this bird on the way north. 
Bay-breasted warbler range from Wikipedia.
Adult males in breeding plumage are mostly gray above, with two white wing bars, dark streaks on the back, a black face, a creamy neck patch, creamy underparts, and the crown, throat and sides a dark chestnut. Breeding females are similar, but duller. Non-breeding males and females are olive-green on the back, nape and head and the rufous flanks very limited or non-existent on females. 

Thursday, May 25, 2023

American Redstart

My last post was on the Cape May warbler which I saw wintering in Jamaica and migrating north in New York City. This post, on the American redstart, is another warbler I saw wintering in Jamaica 
This American redstart was near Konoko Falls in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. 

This American redstart was at Rocklands Bird Sanctuary outside of Montego Bay, Jamaica. 

and in New York City where they were either still migrating north or had stopped to breed. 
This and the following American redstarts were in Central Park. 

The American redstart is a warbler that breeds in North America, in Canada and the eastern U.S., and winters in Central America, the West Indies and northern South America. 
American redstart range from Wikipedia.
Breeding males are black above with orange-red patches on their wings and tail. The sides of the breast are orange and the rest of the underparts are white. In non-breeding plumage they have green in their upperparts with black central tails and gray heads. Females have yellow where the breeding males have orange. 
Male American redstart in Central Park in New York City. 

Female American Redstart in Central Park.

Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Cape May Warbler

The Cape May warbler is named after Cape May, New Jersey where the specimen was collected that was first identified with the name. However, the warbler was not seen there in the next 100 years, but is now an uncommon migrant there. 

Males have a brown back, yellow rump, dark brown crown, yellow throat and nape, a chestnut patch on the face surrounded by yellow and a black eye-stripe and yellow underparts streaked with black. Females are washed-out versions of the male. 
It breeds through eastern southern Canada, mid-central Canada, the Great Lakes area and New England. It migrates to the West Indies where it spends the winter. 
Cape May warbler range from Wikipedia.
I saw a Cape May warbler at Hotel Mockingbird Hill near Port Antonio in northeastern Jamaica in February of this year. However, I was disappointed in the fact that I was only able to photograph the underside. 

In Central Park in New York City in May I was able to get photos of the upperparts of a Cape May Warbler and was very happy to get a better view of this beautiful bird. 

It is fun to have seen it close to both ends of the migration route. The one I saw in New York must have been traveling north to New England or Canada. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Scarlet Tanager

In New York's Central Park on a bird walk in May 2023 we encountered several scarlet tanagers. I was thinking "been there, done that" as I was watching them, thinking of the summer tanagers I've seen at Big Morongo in California and in Colombia. Then, afterwards, I got thinking about it and realized that our guides had pointed out the black wings which a summer tanager does not have and that this was a new bird for me. 
The scarlet tanager breeds in the eastern U.S. and Canada and winters in lower Central America and into South America in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and portions of the Caribbean. 
Scarlet tanager range from Wikipedia.
Breeding males are scarlet red with black wings and tail and a horn-colored bill. Although it looks a lot like a summer tanager, it is in the same family as a cardinal. Females, which I did not see, are olive with yellowish underparts and yellow-olive wings and tail. Non-breeding males are a similar color to the female, but have darker wings and tail. 

In Colombia I also saw the crimson-backed tanager which is also red with black wings, but has a darker head. 

Monday, May 22, 2023

Lawrence's Goldfinch

I've been wanting to see a Lawrence's goldfinch for some time and finally got my wish yesterday at Big Morongo. 

I did not realize that its range is so limited. It only breeds in California and Baja California and winters in California, Arizona, New Mexico, a sliver of Texas and a portion of Mexico (Baja California, Sonora and Chihuahua). 
Lawrence's goldfinch range from Wikipedia. 
Males are gray with a black face, yellow belly patch, and yellow wing patches. 

Females are grayish-brown with a faint yellow wash on the belly.

It was named in 1850 by John Cassin for George N. Lawrence, a businessman naturalist.