Magnolia Warbler

A cool, gray, misty morning followed a night of heavy rain. By mid-morning, gray clouds still hung very low and dark, and a light mist continued to fall. Rainwater dripped from trees and large bushes, crickets and grasshoppers sang. At first, as I started a walk down the street, I heard no birds, except for the distant caws of American Crows. Then gradually I began to hear a few, the chatter of Carolina Chickadees, the nasal calls of two White-breasted Nuthatches, the whistled puh-wee of two Eastern Wood-Peewees. A quiet Northern Mockingbird ruffled its wet wings as it perched among drenched leaves on a crape myrtle branch.

A little further on, I passed the scattered chatter of Tufted Titmice, Carolina Wrens, Northern Cardinals, the cries of Blue Jays, the chucking calls of Red-bellied Woodpeckers and delicate rattles of Downies. With a flash of sudden color in the fog, an Eastern Bluebird flew to the top of a tree.

A small flutter of wings and rustle of leaves, and a flash of yellow caught my attention in a tangle of kudzu, privet and young water oaks. For several minutes I watched and followed the constant movement of a small bird that I couldn’t quite see well – though I could follow its movement through the wet, very dense vegetation, showing only quick, partial, frustrating glimpses of wings or head or tail.

Finally, it came out for one good, clear moment, and I saw a brightly-marked immature Magnolia Warbler – a small, fluttery wood warbler with smooth gray head and face, white eye-ring, bright yellow throat and breast, and faint dark streaks on the sides, white wing bars and yellow rump. A small indentation of pale gray at the shoulder may have been part of a pale-gray neckband. As it moved again, turning around, it showed the under side of the tail, clean white with a broad black band at the edge. Very nice!

Leave a Reply