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. 

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