And here they are- all the various fall warbler pictures I have taken in the past few days. Go ahead and admit it, they are not pretty. In fact, they are every birders definition of fall warbler hell (at least for the new fall warbler birder that is). Anyhow, I said I would be posting them once I was able to identify and have attempted to set aside some quality time with "moi", to tackle this impossible task, but it hasn't been easy due to work, sleep and more birding of course.
Allow me to introduce you to culprit number 1, which are the first two pictures above. Taken at Brierly Monday evening and the one I thought was a Common Yellowthroat when I saw it through my binoculars because all I could see at that time was its wee little head and yellow throat. I took some pictures of the bird (and often do not pick up on any details on the bird when picture taking because I am concentrating too much on the focus feature of my camera that often doesn't work), so was mortified when I blew the pics up to see very noticeable wing bars. Wrong again Kim! Anxiety starts to arise as I whip out my Peterson's and Sibley's to try and make sense of it all. The problem is, this warbler could be one of many (love the fact that Peterson posts one page for fall warblers with wing bars and streaks and one without though!).
My chosen method for this has been the process of elimination and getting it down to 2 or possibly 3 warblers. That is the easy part, the difficult part is now determining which of the 2 or 3 it is. My heart races and palms sweat, similar to how one feels during a final exam and multiple choice situation.
Anyhow, wishful thinking had me believe this was a Tennessee Warbler for about 2 minutes (due to how chubby it looks), analysis paralysis made me think perhaps Yellow-rumped Warbler or Pine Warbler, but I eliminated both due to various plumage and other things (habitat, shape, etc). So the last bird on the list was........
Blackpoll Warbler......The reason: The whitish undertail coverts, the faint streaking on the breast, the streaked back, (at least as far as I can see), the faint yellow on its throat, the short tail, the right habitat for a blackpoll migrating and pure desperation to make up my mind. My doubts: I don't see a narrow dark eye line, I think the bird may be too yellow on its flanks, I can't get a good look at its legs to determine if they are pale and/or yellowish and what the heck is up with the color of its bill?? Anyhow, I am done. I don't care if I ever look at this picture again seriously!
And the picture above and below is that of its accomplice who was located less than a quarter of a mile from culprit number 1. The first thing I notice on this bird are the very prominent streaks along its sides. I look at various warblers in both my Peterson's and Sibley's and narrow it down to Cape May Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler.
This is what stares back at me. Hmmmmmmm. What a funny looking Yellow Warbler I think to myself.......Never noticed how white its wings bars are.....In fact, they are too white. I am praying it will come out from the pine needles but it refuses so I put my bins on it which makes it only worse because all I see are magnified pine needles so I resort back to the camera.