Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Highlights from May 20-26th, 2013

If you are looking for challenges while out birdwatching, this is the time of year to get up early and stay out late. Flycatchers including the not so easy to identify Empidonax flycatchers, female Magnolia Warblers (MAWA), Common Yellowthroats (COYE), and American Redstarts (AMRE) arrived in great numbers on Monday May 20th. Some of the early warblers had a few stragglers as well including the Black-throated Green and Nashville Warbler (NAWA).

PROW male
We had an exciting foreign recovery of a male Wilson Warbler banded by   Manuel Grosselet last October near Vera Cruz, Mexico. Foreign recoveries (those banded by someone and recovered by another banding station) else are few and far between, but are exciting when they are encountered. We also caught an old returning Prothonotary Warbler (PROW) that was banded as an After-Second-Year male and is now at least 5 years old. 

The weather is shaping up for the last pulse of the third wave occurring by mid-week. This will bring in the last peak of the flycatchers, Red-eyed Vireos (REVI), Mourning Warbler (MOWA), Blackpoll Warbler (BLPW), Wilson Warbler (WIWA) and the elusive Connecticut Warbler (CONW).

PROW male back-note white tail spots


Highlights for the week:

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (YBCU)-note rufous wings
YBCU-note tail spots

Here's a reminder that bird plumage does not always follow examples of field marks you will find in the field guide:

Wilson Warbler male with many yellow feathers in his cap

WIWA back

Male Yellow-breasted Chat (YBCH). How do we know it's a male?  
Males have black mouth lining while females have pink. 
Scarlet Tanager (SCTA) female. Note greenish yellow body color versus golden yellow body feathers of a female Summer Tanager.
Olive-sided Flycatcher (OSFL) back.
Not showing the white tufts emphasized in field guides.
OSFL front view. Note the dark gray vest it is wearing. This may be a better field mark than the white on its back. The song/call is more telling as well.
Philadelphia Vireo (PHVI) back- note the white superciliary line.
PHVI: note its lemon yellow throat and belly.
Check out our banding totals at

and Kenn Kaufman's Migration forecast at
Get outside and enjoy the last migrants of spring! 

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