Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Parula and Other Migrants

This morning a small feeding flock brought several migrants through the yard, including Black-and-white and Chestnut-sided Warblers, Northern Parula, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Summer Tanager and Eastern Wood-Pewee. A Phoebe, a pair of Brown-headed Nuthatches, and a singing Pine Warbler came with them, as well as Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Chickadees, Titmice and Carolina Wrens.

The day began cloudy, gray, warm, humid and soggy everywhere, with lots of leaves and debris down, but the sun gradually broke through the clouds and blue sky began to show. An Eastern Bluebird sang a blurry ter-wee, ter-wee. Crickets and grasshoppers cheeped. The leaves of the bushes beside where I stood on the front porch swarmed with hunting yellowjackets.

The first Chestnut-sided Warbler was a male with burgundy streaks on its sides and a clean gray breast, foraging among the leaves of a water oak. A few minutes later, a colorful first-year female came very close, out in full view on low oak branches, its back, head and wing-bars soaked in yellow, and white rings circling its eyes.

The Black-and-white Warbler crept along large oak branches. With bright white and black stripes on its head and more subdued – not so crisp and bold – black and white stripes and streaks over the rest of its body, I think it was a first-year female.

The Northern Parula announced its presence with repeated loud, sharp chipping calls, and as it slipped quickly from place to place I could only glimpse the yellow throat and upper breast and blurred coral breast-band – but a couple of minutes later, it sang once or twice, with a soft rising and falling zzzzzziiii-up.

It was a modest group – nothing spectacular. But the most diverse flock to come through our yard so far this fall, and lots of fun to watch.

Leave a Reply