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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Hidden Gems of Port Huron SGA: Blue-winged Warbler, Mourning Warbler and Rose-breasted Grosbeak

[Port Huron SGA. May/June 2017]

Every year we await the singular natural history event -- Spring Migration -- that marks the beginning of our helpless seduction by the irresistible forces of avian color and song as our neotropical songbirds arrive to bring our forests to bountiful vivacity.

The emerald of the leaves is now interspersed with the reds of Grosbeaks; the deep blues of Buntings; and, the greens and yellows of our Warblers. A richly hued treasure trove of avian gems awaits the intrepid birder who would venture into our Eastern woods.

This incredible transformation of our forests is a spectacle that demands celebration and, accordingly, we are pleased to bring some of the stars of this transformative miracle to the readers of this blog with species such as:  

  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak
  • Blue-winged Warbler
  • Chestnut-sided Warbler
  • Ovenbird
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Mourning Warbler
We start with our most colorful grosbeak -- the Rose-breasted:

The male Rose-breasted Grosbeak is a stunning songbird with bold colors and a rich Robin-like song. 

With a "bleeding heart" red bib and a strongly contrasting scheme of black upperparts and white undersides, the Rose-breasted Grosbeak is hard to miss in the forest. White patches on the wings and a pale pink bill complete the picture.

The female (above) is modestly attired in a cryptic pattern of brown and white -- virtually indistinguishable from the female Black-headed Grosbeak of the West.

After the Grosbeak, Blue-winged Warbler seems underwhelming:

Yet, the black eyeline and blue-grey wings with white patches does present a striking image.

The "bee buzz" song of the male is a familiar refrain in Michigan forests.

Compared to the insect-like song of the Blue-winged Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler's song is a musical warble best described as "pleased, pleased, pleased to meetcha".

The Chestnut-sided Warbler is well named -- the bold brown streaks are prominently visible:

Our only warbler named after the shape of its nest, the Ovenbird is a subdued warbler:  

It looks more like a thrush and can be found foraging on the ground when overwintering in S. Florida.

Also seen was Cerulean Warbler:

And, the fabulous Mourning Warbler:

Named for its grey hood (as if in mourning), the Mourning Warbler never fails to bring joy in observation and song:

A renowned skulker, the Mourning Warbler generally keeps low in the undergrowth:

Spring and Summer are not mere seasons, they represent nothing short of a resurrection of our forests into treasure troves of hidden gems such as Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Mourning Warbler.


Bob Pelkey said...

It's always a treat to see your photography, Hemant. Your blog's banner is stunning as well.

Betheast said...

Stunning photos and great information on these gems!