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Sunday, August 17, 2014

Yellow-throated Warbler plus Brown-headed Nuthatch and Red-bellied Woodpecker

[SW Florida, August 2014]

While shorebirds are stealing the limelight in early August, some woodland species can provide a change in birding scenery when stalking peeps to identify bill length and leg color on mudflats runs the risk of becoming tiresome. At a couple of hotspots (Tigertail and Serenity Walk), the following species provided just such a respite:
  • Yellow-throated Warbler
  • Great-crested Flycatcher
  • Brown-headed Nuthatch
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
A recent excursion to Corkscrew Swamp had provided some encouraging warbler sightings (Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Parula, Northern Waterthrush) and this trend received further impetus with the sighting of an early arrival from the North: the Yellow-throated Warbler at Tigertail Beach on Marco Island.

Yellow-throated Warbler seen at Tigertail Beach

Southwest Florida is not known to be a breeding hotspot for warblers compared to our Northern States that can boast up to 20 species. SW Florida, by comparison, has just a few -- Northern Parula, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow, Pine and Prairie warblers (an excellent resource for which is the Florida Breeding Atlas); however, come Fall and Winter, the tables are turned as warblers flee their increasingly frigid Northern homes and SW Florida becomes a mecca for wintering warblers -- including Yellow-throated Warbler.

Yellow-throated Warbler seen at Tigertail Beach

While Yellow-throated Warbler is commonly seen as an over-wintering warbler here, August marks the earliest month that this blogger has witnessed it in these parts. The warbler itself is unmistakable with its white undersides, yellow throat, bold facial markings and grey upperparts all lending a clean, crisp look to this Southeastern Warbler.

Yellow-throated Warbler seen at Tigertail Beach

This stunning warbler was seen in a mixed feeding flock that included a Prairie Warbler and Great-crested Flycatcher:

Great-crested Flycatcher seen at Tigertail Beach

An excellent birding hotspot en-route to (or from) Marco Island is Serenity Walk off Collier Blvd (approx. midway between the I-75 and Tamiami Trail intersections). This small park has been reliable for Brown-headed Nuthatch which never fail to both amuse and delight in equal measure:

Brown-headed Nuthatch seen at Serenity Walk

This is our (as in SW Florida's) only species of nuthatch with neither White-breasted nor Red-breasted Nuthatch ranging this far South.

Also seen in the vicinity were Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers. While any sighting of the Red-bellied Woodpeckers is unlikely to take the Birding listservers by storm, still, it is, nonetheless, a striking woodpecker with a bright red head and strongly barred back -- a description that surely beggars the accuracy of its moniker.

Red-bellied Woodpecker seen at Serenity Walk

Diversity, it is said, is the spice of life and perhaps nowhere does this adage hold truer than in the digital pursuit of plumes.

1 comment:

Bob Pelkey said...

On my next visit to Tigertail Beach Lagoon I will be certain to investigate Serenity Walk, Hemant. Your documentation has me want to travel there immediately.