Friday, December 27, 2013

My Big "Warbler Year"

[A Photocatalog of Warblers Observed in 2013]

It is the ambition of many a birder to do a "Big Year" (maximizing the number of species observed in a given year); a "score" of anything over 500 would be considered outstanding in the ABA area. However, in taking some license with this notion -- would it not be possible to do a Big Year on a particular family of birds?

In this context, the year 2013 turned out to be a Big "Warbler Year" for this blogger; a contest for which a "score" of 50 would certainly be entirely  respectable given the warbler species in the US number 54.

In one's own humble endeavor in this regard, 48 warblers were photographed (caveat: not necessarily all with full-species status given that Audubon's and Myrtle warblers are considered conspecific [as the pedestrian sounding Yellow-rumped Warbler]; and some sources question the "Warblerhood" of the Yellow-breasted Chat and the Olive Warbler]. Additionally, only 46 were seen on the US Mainland while an additional 2 were made possible thanks to a couple endemics seen on the US territory of Puerto Rico.

In any case, technicalities aside, here's the complete list for my Big "Warbler Year":

Eastern Warblers
  1. Worm-eating Warbler
  2. Cerulean Warbler
  3. Kentucky Warbler
  4. Blackburnian Warbler
  5. Canada Warbler
  6. Mourning Warbler
  7. Pine Warbler
  8. Kirtland's Warbler
  9. Blue-winged Warbler
  10. Golden-winged Warbler
  11. Black and White Warbler
  12. Prairie Warbler
  13. Hooded Warbler
  14. Magnolia Warbler
  15. Nashville Warbler
  16. Northern Parula
  17. Palm Warbler
  18. Cape May Warbler
  19. Blackpoll Warbler 
  20. Prothonotary Warbler
  21. Ovenbird
  22. Myrtle Warbler
  23. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  24. Black-throated Green Warbler
  25. Black-throated Blue Warbler
  26. Bay-breasted Warbler
  27. Northern Waterthrush
  28. Lousiana Waterthrush
  29. American Redstart
  30. Yellow Warbler
  31. Common Yellowthroat
  32. Yellow-throated Warbler
  33. Yellow-breasted Chat
  34. Elfin-woods Warbler (PR)
  35. Adelaide's Warbler (PR)

Western Warblers
  1. Audubon's Warbler
  2. Orange-crowned Warbler
  3. Lucy's Warbler
  4. Grace's Warbler
  5. Olive Warbler
  6. Painted Redstart
  7. Red-faced Warbler
  8. Hermit Warbler
  9. Townsend's Warbler
  10. Black-throated Grey Warbler
  11. Virginia's Warbler
  12. MacGillivray's Warbler
  13. Wilson's Warbler
The "one that got away" was the Colima Warbler -- observed well at Big Bend but sadly failed to photograph. The ones I still need to get are Connecticut (notoriously difficult); Swainson's and Golden-cheeked (Tennessee Warbler was present at Magee this year but overlooked).

So without further ado, here they are:

1. Worm-eating Warbler
A plain warbler with black stripes on a peach head; seen at Magee Marsh.



2. Cerulean Warbler
Unique in its coloration; the male Cerulean has no parallel in the Warbler universe. Seen at Magee Marsh.


3. Kentucky Warbler
A surprise find at Magee; stays close to the ground. Otherwise, a typical olive/yellow warbler.



4. Blackburnian Warbler
Unique in its facial markings and the warm glow of its throat; the Blackburnian never fails to delight. Seen at Magee Marsh.


5. Canada Warbler
A late arriving warbler at Magee; the black "necklace" is a stand-out feature.



6. Mourning Warbler
Seen at its breeding grounds at Lake Huron SGA. Despite its name, this is a warbler whose sight cheers everyone up.



7. Pine Warbler
An attractive warbler in yellow and white. Seen at Lake Huron SGA.



8. Kirtland's Warbler
Our rarest warbler, the Kirtland's is to Michigan what the Golden-cheeked Warbler is to Texas. Seen at Grayling, MI.



9. Blue-winged Warbler
A common warbler of the area; seen at Lake Huron SGA.




10. Golden-winged Warbler
Sadly suffering significant population declines, the Golden-winged is a very distinctive warbler. Seen here at Magee Marsh.



11. Black and White Warbler
A bold color scheme makes this warbler unforgettable. Seen during Spring Migration at Magee Marsh.



12. Prairie Warbler
Seen in the Mangrove Forests of Southwest Florida, the Prairie Warbler is poorly named but a sure crowd-pleaser.



13. Hooded Warbler
Expanding outside of its historical range Northward, the Hooded showed extremely well at Magee Marsh this Spring.



14. Magnolia Warbler
This warbler has everything you could ask for in a Warbler -- a facial mask, a strongly contrasting color scheme and bold streaking on the throat. Seen at Magee Marsh.


15. Nashville Warbler
Perhaps not as flamboyant, the Nashville was observed both at Magee as well as in SE Arizona.



16. Northern Parula
Seen in Florida and Magee Marsh, this particular individual was photographed in the latter locale.



17. Palm Warbler
Somewhat ignored by the crowds at Magee Marsh, the Palm, nevertheless, is an attractive and unique warbler.



18. Cape May Warbler
Our only warbler with cinnamon cheeks.



19. Blackpoll Warbler
A high-pitched song and black cap distinguish this long-distance migrant.


20. Prothonotary Warbler
The loudest warbler at Magee, the Prothonotary is a summer breeder at this migrant trap.



21. Ovenbird
Found foraging among the leaves, the Ovenbird is another loud songster on its breeding territory.


22. Myrtle Warbler
One of the earliest migrants, the Myrtle is lumped with Audubon's into the Yellow-rumped Warbler.


23. Chestnut-sided Warbler
A white warbler with chestnut sides, black facial markings and a golden cap.



24. Black-throated Green Warbler
Another early warbler at Magee. The green observed is on the back, head and eye-stripe.





25. Black-throated Blue Warbler
This warbler is unmistakeable; one of the very few in blue.



26. Bay-breasted Warbler
A warbler in earth-tones; this handsome warbler showed well at Magee.



27. Northern Waterthrush
Our two waterthrushes are streaked, drab, and energetic tail bobbers.



28. Lousiana Waterthrush
Ditto. Seen at Corkscrew Swamp (FL).



29. American Redstart
A warbler in a tux with orange epaulets!



30. Yellow Warbler
A familiar and widespread warbler; another breeder at Magee.



31, Common Yellowthroat
Not the most imaginative name for our most widely ranging warbler.



32. Yellow-throated Warbler
A fine looking warbler seen at Corkscrew Swamp.



33. Yellow-breasted Chat
Seen at Big Bend National Park; this raucous 'warbler' is like no other.


34. Elfin-woods Warbler (PR)
Our most recently discovered warbler; and endemic to Puerto Rico.



35. Adelaide's Warbler (PR)
Another Puerto Rico endemic, this dazzling warbler is reminiscent of Grace's.



Now the Western Warblers:


1. Audubon's Warbler
Seen at El Moro, California.




2. Orange-crowned Warbler
Also seen at El Moro canyon, this is a common warbler of the West:



3. Lucy's Warbler
Our smallest warbler; seen at Sabino Canyon, Arizona.



4. Grace's Warbler
A very localized warbler; restricted to the Southwest. Seen at Mt. Lemmon.


5. Olive Warbler
Another very localized warbler; and taxonomically unique.


6. Painted Redstart
Another Arizona specialty, the Painted Redstart is a stunner.


7. Red-faced Warbler
An unforgettable sight; the Red-faced Warbler is the prize of Western warblers.




8. Hermit Warbler
A yellow face and black chin; this attractive warbler was seen in Oregon.



9. Townsend's Warbler
A familiar warbler of the West, the Townsend has distinctive facial markings.



10. Black-throated Grey Warbler
Seen on Mt. Ord, Arizona; one of our three "black-throated" warblers.



11. Virginia's Warbler
Looking like a smaller version of the Colima Warbler, the Virginia's is another warbler with a small range in the US.



12. MacGillivray's Warbler
This is the Western "equivalent" of the Mourning:



13. Wilson's Warbler
Breeding in the US only in the West (but in the entire Canadian North), the Wilson's is seen in migration across the country including the East.


In concluding, it will not be an overstatement to suggest that a competitive "count" of species is utterly meaningless unless accompanied by a deeper appreciation for the individuality of each species, its life history and associated conservation challenges.

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