Wednesday, May 15, 2013


I returned to the mostly-birch forest at Garden City Park.  It was very warblery.  Most of those singing were of two species:

 Orange-crowned Warbler.

The very common, strategically-coloured, misnamed Orange-crowned Warbler.  This one found a relatively open perch and sang for so long that you would think he believed he had a particularly special trill.

 Wilson's Warbler

But more numerous were Wilson's Warblers.  Their ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch-ch- etc. rattled throughout the greenery.  They are skulky, but in an active way.  Stand in one place long enough and one will pop into view.

 Still there be sticks.

A few times I heard a buzzier call that reminded me of the Black-throated Green warblers of Ontario--Townsend's Warbler, my first of the year.

 Fewer sticks, but fuzzier focus.

And then a hardcore skulker, not a warbler.  A small greyish bird was dropping down to the edge of the pond, plucking tiny things from the surface of the water.  A vireo, but which one?

It never fully unskulked, and I took these pictures hand-held at a distance, hoping that the photos enlarged would reveal the answer.  The relatively indistinct eye-brow and absence of wing bars suggests Warbling Vireo.

This is a good spot to see spring migrants, a relatively isolated mixture of birch and pine, with ample edge habitat and proximity to water. It's good for flycatchers, Western Tanagers, warblers, vireos and more.   If you are a Richmond birder, you may want to check it out soon before things peter out.  Map:

Yellow polygon is prime habitat.  If you hear a peacock shrieking to the east, you're in the right spot.

Tomorrow: Curvirostrity


biobabbler said...


Delightful when a skulk-tastic species is discerned from others via "indistinct" or "absence of" traits.

Of course it is.

Katie (Nature ID) said...

I'm fascinated you're seeing your first Townsend's. Down here, I consider them my Halloween-Christmas-Valentine's bird.

Hugh said...

bb: The power of drabness. Drabtastic!

Katie: I forgot that they winter so far north. During the 2 years I was living in California I would see them in Golden Gate Park in the winter. (Where I first saw them ever.) Reading the postings of other Vancouver area birders today, last night there was a significant fall-out of warblers and vireos, and almost everyone reported Townsend's warblers as species of note. Yes, interesting--they're special up here, not that far away in migratorial terms.

JoLynne Lyon said...

I should learn more about the birds where I live. Their song makes it a pleasure to leave the windows open.