Monday, September 5, 2011

September Warblers

These photos are of warblers I banded in Northfield, Minnesota, on 3 September 2011. I enjoy sharing these head-on portraits with you. More traditional poses are available on the Internet or elsewhere in this blog. The head-on angle makes the top two birds difficult to identify. In the field, because of the white patches in its upper tail, this first bird is obviously a Magnolia Warbler. (Last September I posted a photo of these patches from a somewhat brighter fall bird.) Closer study reveals a gray head with white eye-rings, a hint of a gray breast band, and two white wing-bars.
The second fall warbler may be even trickier to identify. This exceptionally bright Tennessee Warbler displays a green back and hints at its white belly and undertail coverts.  The beginnings of a yellow eye-line are clearly visible, although you may have to take my word that the yellow lores continue over the bird's eyes. (A post of last September shows some of Tennessee Warbler's variability and better views of those eye-lines.)
Finally an easy fall warbler--no doubt about this male Wilson Warbler's identity. Unlike other warblers, the Wilson's basic feathers are similar to its alternate (spring) plumage. One difference is that a young bird in its first basic (winter) plumage has pale edges to its black cap feathers. Note that about 50% of females also have black crowns, but the black is less extensive than on the males' caps.


  1. Seen any shorebirds lately? Lake Byllesby is a total (and literal) washout this year, as the water is still too high. I need a shorebird fix, and there should still be some around somewhere, right?!

  2. The Wilson's is almost as great as the famous picture of the mad bluebird...just wonderful!