Sunday, May 10, 2009

Prothonotary Warber and Sibley Lecture

(I wish this was my photo, but it's from Remember, if I had had my camera I wouldn't have seen the bird.)

Yesterday I headed to the Greenwich Nature Center in Connecticut for a presentation by David Allen Sibley (International Migratory Bird Day). We got there early so as to get some birding in beforehand. Birds were somewhat scarce for migration, but we did find a few ovenbirds, and a pocket of thrushes. There were many wood thrushes, a few veerys, two of which stayed still very close to us for a few minutes. I found one thrush that was different, and narrowed it down to gray-cheeked or bicknell's thrush. Hermit thrush was eliminated by the lack of the reddish tail, and Swainson's by the lack of spectacles. Either Gray-Cheecked or Bicknell's would have been life birds, but it was impossible to tell without hearing it. Gray-Cheeked would be more common, but a Bicknell's could be passing through too. I would have to leave that bird unidentified.

I did not see much more until we were almost back to the center, when I saw a yellowish warbler flying away by the main lake. We relocated it and I could immediately see what it was-- a Prothonotary Warbler. It had a brilliant golden head and chest, a greenish-yellow back, blue-gray wings, and a strikingly long bill. It stayed in one spot for close study, and then flew a short distance and stayed in one place again, giving us great and lengthy views, before flying away to the other side of the lake. It was one of only two warblers we saw. 

We excitedly headed back to the reception before the presentation, and talked about the bird to the Audubon person at the center. He said that it was possible, as Prothonotary Warblers are rare but fairly regular overshoots to CT. He than asked another audubon employee who was there, and he said that the bird had indeed been seen earlier that day, which basically confirmed by identification. 

I got my Sibley Guide to Birds signed and told Mr. Sibley about the POWA too. Hmm, the first Prothonotary Warbler in over 20 years at Greenwich is on the same day Sibley was there. The birds follow him around! No wonder he's seen so many!

Oh, and the lecture was great too. 

The POWA kept my streak of at least one life bird a weekend for the past 3 weeks alive. (WAVI, RUFF, CLRA on the 26th; RBGR, BLWA, NAWA, AMRE, NOWA on the 3rd, and POWA on the 9th.)

Good Birding,


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