Re: [wsbn] Loudy-Simpson Surprise
- Forrest, you rock!!! is VZ there yet???----- Original Message -----From: Forrest LukeTo: 'WSBN'Sent: Wednesday, August 08, 2007 9:44 AMSubject: [wsbn] Loudy-Simpson Surprise
After a toad-strangling cloud burst passed through Craig last evening (August 7) I decided to head over to Loudy-Simpson Park to see what the storm might have blown in (it was too muddy to get to shorebird spots).
I started at the spot where I had success the evening before (actually it was August 6 and not 7 as I reported-that's what happens when you mess around with your daily bird calendar looking for bird photos you like better than the one shown for that day), and saw all of the warbler species that I had seen previously. Then I saw this little warbler with distinctive white outer tail feathers fly up from the grass and settle into the lower branches of a cottonwood tree. I was all over this bird but couldn't immediately find it in the tree. I kept looking and finally it (presumably the same bird) popped into the open. My first impression was of a very brightly-colored Orange-crowned, until I saw the very distinctive white wing bars on more blue-gray wings. The bird was unmarked, bright yellow underneath, although I couldn't see the undertail coverts very well.
After considering the combination of plumage characteristics, I could only conclude that this bird was a Blue-winged Warbler. The face pattern wasn't as distinctive as the singing males I had seen on trips back East, so apparently this bird must have been a female or a fall-plumaged male. The bird was found in the northwest corner of the nature trail.
So yesterday I’m walking along the nature trail at Loudy-Simpson Park in Craig grumbling to myself about what an unproductive fall migration it’s been. As I’m whining I spot a small flock of sparrows on the trail ahead. Looks like a mixed group of Song and White-crowned Sparrows. But wait, there’s a largish sparrow that doesn’t look quite right. As I slowly edge up for a closer look I can see that the head pattern doesn’t work for White-crowned. The birds then all fly and scatter but I follow the interesting one. It lands in a bush and I get one quick glimpse of what looked like yellow on the head. Then it flies to a small tree—directly into the sun. Again, I edge along the trail until I have the sun mostly at my back. It turns its head toward me and I get a blast of a yellow crown bordered by smudgy black. My first Moffat County Golden-crowned Sparrow! Probably a first county record. My best guess, based on the amount of yellow on the crown, is that it was an adult bird transitioning to mostly basic plumage. Otherwise, there weren’t a lot of migrants, although an observed Bullock’s Oriole seemed very late.
I’m headed out town for a few weeks. First to Virginia to visit relatives and then to Northwest Ecuador (Choco bioregion) to search for birds. Anyone interested in the list from my Ecuador trip let me know and I will happy to share.