Thursday, May 10, 2012

May is for the Warblers

Yearling Baltimore Oriole
After reading the recent posts about all the warblers from Suzette, I found myself compelled to visit Nahanton Tuesday before work. I arrived to a overcast and drizzly day at the park, and I was hoping that this more dismal weather would keep the birds active for a little longer. The first thing I noticed as I was walking down the path was the jubilant and bubbly song of the house wren accompanied by the songs of the Song Sparrows and Yellow Warblers. Then a few clear liquid whistled notes reached my years and I immediately thought “Baltimore Orioles!” and indeed a yearling male / female appeared in the plowed brush immediately by the lower gardens. Unlike the brilliant orange of the adult male, this bird was more washed out yellow-orange.

House Wren
To the right of the path to the lower gardens a lot of the brush has been cleared away and while I was wondering why, the wrens, orioles and catbirds didn’t seem to mind and they spent lots of time working the debris. It appeared to me that the oriole was gathering fine grassy material making me think of their hanging woven nests that would make any architect proud. I have yet to find an oriole nest at Nahanton, but I’m sure they must be there.

In the corner of the garden I heard the loud and emphatic “TEACHER TEACHER TEACHER” of an Ovenbird. This is a warbler I’ve only seen once, but I’m always hearing his distinctive song. I tried to “pish” out the Ovenbird, but instead a brilliant male Redstart appeared. I had been hearing a song like a Black and White Warbler, like a squeaky wheel, but I also know that Redstarts are notoriously tricky songsters and can also imitate Black-and-White and Yellow-rumped Warblers. Then In the very back corner of the lower gardens a Common Yellowthroat was singing his “witchity-witchity-witchity” song and showing off his black facemask.

I made my way over to the upper gardens and ended up seeing two more Baltimore Orioles! Another yearling or female and then finally a splendid bright orange male appeared, though no more oriole songs. I managed a glimpse of the yellow eye-brow of a Savannah Sparrow, and some twittering Goldfinches overhead drew my eye upwards where I saw a smaller heron flying over. It was probably a Green Heron, but all I know for sure was that it was smaller than a Great Blue.

Can you spot the Canada Warbler?
I was just about to head back to my car when I caught a flash of movement in the trees adjacent to the field. This movement turned out to be a Black-and-white Warbler, who drew my attention to a warbler sulking in the underbrush. When I got my binoculars I caught yellow under parts, yellow spectacles and a black streak by the eye, leading me to get my hopes up for a Kentucky Warbler. This warbler flushed and we played a game of cat and mouse across the edge of the woods closest to the soccer field. I soon realized that the bird I was chasing had a much more complicated song than the “churry churry churry” of the Kentucky. And that was when I saw the black necklace across the entirely yellow under parts and I realized that this was a Canada Warbler! Could this be the same individual that Mary Lou found on Friday? I tried hard to catch a picture but was mostly thwarted, but I was able to get a very busy 30 second audio recording. I followed him around the garden and he always seemed to want to stay just far enough into the undergrowth that I could keep catching glimpses of him.

Today I’ll leave you with the auditory recording that includes the Canada, but the recording is quite a cacophony as the birds don’t always take turns. Try listening to the beginning of the clip a couple of times to see how many birds or warblers you can identify.  The clip will repeat twice then after a 10 second delay the individual warbler songs will play with a label so if you aren’t ready to have the calls identified be sure to stop the player. The text below will also be about the recordings.

I can hear 7 species including 4 warblers. I filtered some of the lower frequency sounds to decrease the street noise to better hear the birds.
The Canada Warbler sings his loud whistled warbled notes at 2 and 8 seconds . A better recording can be heard here.
A Yellow Warbler's "sweet sweet sweet little-more-sweet" song is at 11 and 28 seconds.
The Black-throated Green Warbler's buzzy "zoo zee zo zo ze" is at 6, 12, and 23 seconds.
A Black-and-white Warbler's "weeza weeza weeza" can be hear at 21 seconds.
The House Wren's bubbly and exuberant song starts with a harsh chatter at 4, 14, 26 seconds.
The sixth species is a Tufted Titmouse, who can be heard calling "Here here here" or "Peter, peter, peter" throughout in the background. And ever so faintly a Red-winged Blackbird's "Conklaree" can be heard with other blackbird call notes. Though the call at 24 seconds I can't quite place, maybe a Yellow Warbler?

P.S. The next day I found a deer tick firmly attached to the back of my knee, so please remember to be care full and check for ticks! And if you find a tick attached you might want to call your Dr. and think about Lyme Disease.

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