By: Larry Gardella
On April 12, I parked my car in the upper lot at Village Point Preserve and walked from there to the nursing home to meet Jeannette Ruffles and Edlyn Burch and then walk down to the start of the Bayfront pulse. On the way I heard Pine, Yellow-rumped, Hooded and Kentucky Warblers and several Northern Parulas. Another Hooded Warbler sang just as I met Jeannette and Edlyn, and as we headed down to the beach we heard a Yellow-throated Warbler.
Often the best birding is on dreary days, but this morning the birding was very good on a beautiful and almost cloudless day. We counted 49 species of birds, including Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, a female Painted Bunting and the following warblers: Prothonotary Warbler, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler, Prairie Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler and a Common Yellowthroat. As usual we finished the pulse on the boardwalk just outside the woods. We then walked from there through Village Point Preserve to get to my car.
Solitary Sandpipers by Larry (left) and Edlyn Burch (right).
A bit more than halfway through this walk, Edlyn excitedly called out, “Isn’t that a Blue-winged Warbler singing?” It was, and we all got to see it well. When I looked right next to it I saw a bird with gray on the throat and face that made me start to say “Golden-winged Warbler”, which is a very close relative of Blue-winged and maybe my favorite warbler. I stopped myself, however, realizing that this bird was as yellow below as the Blue-winged, while Golden-winged Warblers have white breasts and bellies. Instead, it was a rare Lawrence’s Warbler, a backcross hybrid of Blue-winged and Golden-winged. Unfortunately, it flew before anyone could get a photo, and we never were able to relocate it. We could not even be sure if it was responsible for one of the two Blue-winged Warbler songs we were hearing simultaneously for a while. I returned in the afternoon, but found no sign of either a Blue-winged or a Lawrence’s.
While getting dinner together, Andrea and I saw our last warblers for the day: a Worm-eating Warbler, a Prothonotary Warbler and two Northern Parulas, all coming to our bird baths, as a good number of warblers have done this spring.
Willets. Photos by Edlyn Burch.