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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Port Huron SGA: Pine, Blue-winged and Chestnut-sided Warblers plus Scarlet Tanager

[Port Huron SGA, MI. May 2014]

Port Huron State Game Area is 6,000 acres of woodland and riparian habitat in St. Clair county, Michigan. While this land has been set aside for the nefarious purpose of shooting wildlife for recreation, the plus side is that in Summer, it affords breeding habitat for warblers, thrushes and other songbirds. Of these, the following species were observed during a late May excursion:

  1. Pine Warbler
  2. Chestnut-sided Warbler
  3. Blue-winged Warbler
  4. Ovenbird
  5. Mourning Warbler
  6. Scarlet Tanager
  7. Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  8. Indigo Bunting
Pine Warbler:

Pine Warbler seen at Abbotsford Rd, Port Huron SGA

Found year round in the Southeast US, the range of the Pine Warbler extends all the way up to the Northeast American-Canadian border in the Summer.

The male Pine Warbler has a bright yellow throat and breast with olive streaking and back. Two white wing bars are prominent on grey wings and white undersides. True to its name, this warbler is seldom found away from pine trees.

Pine Warbler seen at Port Huron SGA
Chestnut-sided Warbler, unlike the Pine Warbler, is strictly a Summer guest in North America -- it retires to the warmer climes of Central and Northern South America in Winter.

Chestnut-sided Warbler seen at Port Huron SGA

Blue-winged Warblers were also seen -- but more often heard:

But nothing resounds in the forest as loud as the "teacher, teacher" song of the Ovenbird:

Ovenbird seen at Port Huron SGA

This Mourning Warbler was still on its way to its breeding grounds -- conspicuously perching and singing along the way.

On the Abbotsford Rd trail, a pair of Scarlet Tanagers were courting and the male paused to give some killer views:

Scarlet Tanager seen at Port Huron SGA
We end with the gorgeous Rose-breasted Grosbeak:

and the ever sublime Indigo Bunting:

Indigo Bunting seen at Port Huron SGA

After the magic of migration when birds in passage provide spectacular but fleeting views, it is in the breeding season that loyalty to territory affords the birder predictability in species finding and the luxury of  "observation on demand"!

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