Wednesday, December 5, 2012

December 5: Western warbler

This morning I went on a quest with a birder friend to a backyard in Winterport that has been hosting a western species--a Townsend's Warbler--for the past week or so. As the rain passed over and the sky began to clear above the river, we settled in with scopes, binoculars, and camera for what we thought might be a long wait. In less than ten minutes, however, the bird appeared in a tree at the back of the yard above the feeders--a distance away, but his bright yellow and black facial pattern and sides made him easy to spot and identify. He paused at the feeder, then flew off. Later, we got another look as he foraged in some closer trees. And not long after, my friend was able to get some nice, close photographs as the bird ate mealworms on the porch, sucking them in the long way like tiny strands of spaghetti.

This sighting is only the fourth Maine record for this species; my "lifer" record of this warbler was in Oak Creek Canyon, Arizona, in a stream-side coniferous forest during spring migration, and the bird breeds well northwest of that. It's all fun and games to go chasing an errant bird like this, but once you see the individual, its personal story comes to the forefront of your thoughts: How did this guy end up here? What was his journey? Will he ever make it back west where he belongs?

Rainy Maine morning.
Bright yellow feathers
belong in California pines.


  1. Congratulations on the sighting! Kristen I just read about your new book - Moon Viewing at 50 MPH. Please post some information about how we can order it for ourselves and for our moon-viewing friends.

    1. Good suggestion! I have not had the time to do any promotion of this book at all, so thank you for motivating me to do something!