Friday, August 14, 2015

A Kalkaska Kaleidosceope II: Canada Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler and Northern Waterthrush

[Kalkaska, MI. July, 2015]

We continue with a look through nature's kaleidoscope into the spectacular birdlife of Kalkaska County in Northern Michigan. 

Our appetite, having been whetted with the delightful sights of Ovenbird, Chestnut-sided Warbler and Black-and-white Warbler in the prior post, we are now ready for the "main course" -- iconic breeding warblers of the Northern US like Canada Warbler, the incomparable Blackburnian Warbler and the wonderfully musical Northern Waterthrush.

We begin with Canada Warbler -- this is a late migrant to our area; usually seen in the 3rd week of May at Magee Marsh in Ohio on its journey Northward. 





Instantly recognizable on account of its black stripes radiating from a ring around the throat as well as prominent white eyerings, -- the Canada is our only warbler named after a country (we have a few named after the States in the US).





While names of Eastern warblers are generally descriptive; Western Warblers, on the other hand, frequently bear the names of giants of Ornithology, their patrons or their relations. But, there are some Eastern Warblers that fit this pattern as well -- for example, Kirtland's and Blackburnian:





Indeed, Blackburnian Warbler is named after Anna Blackburne, an English naturalist who collaborated with Linnaeus in her lifetime.







With black facial markings and a "burning" throat, the name of this warbler, coincidentally, also ends up being descriptive!

Next, in complete contrast to the dazzling Blackburnian Warbler, the Northern Waterthrush is a plain and rather dull looking warbler:





However, what it lacks in color, the Northern Waterthrush makes up in song -- a loud, cheerful warble that rings like a cascade of bells in our Northern forests.



We end with American Redstart -- perhaps not as exotic as Canada Warbler or as handsome as Blackburnian, but nonetheless, a striking combination of black and orange:



The metaphor of birding as a look through Nature's kaleidoscope brings to mind the dazzling colors and hues of our avifauna. And, nowhere does this metaphor come more to life than in our Northern forests in places like Kalkaska County, Michigan.



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