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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New yard bird

I was outside about an hour ago, relaxing under a tree in my backyard, when I noticed a small bird flitting around a yellow cestrum shrub, apparently picking off small insects. I had my binoculars with me, as I usually do when I'm outside, so I trained them on the bird and saw what was obviously a warbler.

The first thing that jumped out at me was the eye ring. It had a very noticeable white ring that completely encircled the eye. It was a drab little bird, yellowish underneath, with no other outstanding field marks. I noted that it did have a short, rather stubby tail and that it was small, even for a warbler. It was bigger than a Ruby-crowned Kinglet but considerably smaller than a Yellow-rumped Warbler.

I thought I knew what it was but I wanted to consult my field guides to be sure, because it's not a bird that I know well. I continued to watch it as it flitted about the yard, looking for insects among the leaves. When it flew into the next yard out of my view, I went inside and pulled my Sibley guide and turned to the warblers. It didn't take long to find a bird that looked a great deal like mine. I opened the Crossley guide to look at his pictures of the bird and that confirmed it for me. I had a Nashville Warbler in my yard!  

It's a first. I've never had a Nashville Warbler here before. (Well, I've never seen a Nashville Warbler here. It's likely they've been here when I wasn't looking.) This is a bird that nests in the far northeastern and northwestern tier of the United States and well up into southern to mid-Canada. It winters in southern Mexico, the Yucatan, and Central America. It is only present here as it passes through on migration.

I would love to get a picture of it, of course, so I took my camera back outside with me, hoping that it might turn up again. But it is a forlorn hope. This is a bird on a mission to reach its wintering grounds, so I'll be very lucky to catch a glimpse of it again. But birders are eternal optimists, so I'll keep the camera close, just in case.

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