Tuesday 24 April 2007

Update: Warbler Statistics

Well, I am back from the Arb and thought it was about time I updated my Warbler Statistics for this spring migration period:

Yellow-rumped Warbler: 26
Pine Warbler: 3
Nashville Warbler: 1
Black-throated Green Warbler: 1

Oh, shugar, sorry, a typo, did I just write Black-throated Green Warbler?
My mistake, of course it is Black-throated GRAY Warbler!

But wait ...

Isn't that a western species?


And isn't Ann Arbor in Michigan?


So, isn't it a bit unusual then to see a Black-throated Gray Warbler in Ann Arbor?

Y E S ! ! !

Can you believe it?
It was found this morning at the Arb by Roger Kuhlman who immediately alerted others through the email forum and there were constant updates and silly me didn't check his emails until 3 pm!!

I am not that much into twitching but I must say I don't think I've ever made it to the Arb that fast.
The location was described in very much detail but was in a corner of the Arb I had never been to before (almost as hard to believe as the warbler itself, right?). "Not to worry", I thought, "there will surely be a bunch of birders on the bird and all I'll have to do is to see where there is a higher than usual density of binoculars."

Well, when I got to the spot, there was no one there but me. Oh my, the Arb is popular, but it is not Point Pelee and it was a normal working day and not the weekend...
No birders.
No warblers.

So I stood there and scanned the trees for any movements.
Tufted Titmouse.

There again: Butterbutt, sorry, Yellow-rumped Warbler.

And again, more Yellow-rumpeds, a whole party of around 10 birds, a good sign!
So my optimism flooded back into me as I was joined by eventually two more birders and we were frantically, I mean calmly and with quiet concentration, scanning the trees.

Then I spotted this pale, small bird high up in the canopy with a black throat.
"OK", I thought to myself, "remain quiet, you don't want this to be a Black-capped Chickadee and you turned into the laugh of the town (as we say in German)."
It was partially obscured by branches and I had to wait for what felt like a week but was probably just over 5 seconds before it hopped on into plain view and really turned into the warbler!!

I quickly got the other two onto the bird and we watched it for about 15 minutes while it slowly worked its way down the tree from the canopy all the way to the shrubs around us, passing us at eye level less than 5 metres away (too close for the focus range of my binoculars) to eventually hop onto a tree trunk and act as if it was the most natural bird to be around at the Arb and as if it really didn't know what all the fuzz was about.

Gosh, it is good to see a Black-throated Gray Warbler at the Arb, but to see it so closely you can marvel at the yellow spot on its supercilium is something quite beyond good, I can assure you that.
Andreas Kanon is trying to get photos of it just now and if he or anyone else does, I'll link to them.
Meanwhile, here are a few links to images of other Black-throated Gray Warblers just for the beauty of the species and something nice to link to:

Spring migration rocks!

Here is a link to one of the pictures Andreas took yesterday.
Furthermore, I heard that this is only the 8th or so record ever for Michigan. Pretty good.


Anonymous said...

Nice! Congrats! I had to go all the way to California to see one...cuz the one in New York two years ago wouldn't cooperate with me.

Larry said...

Congratulations-I'm not much of a twitcher but that sounds like it was well owrth it.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a sighting. Sounds like this is a spring migration worth the wait.

Jochen said...

Hi Larry, hi Corey,
Yes, it was a great bird and we had marvellous looks at it.
I am not so much into twitching because a lot of the joy I seek and get out of birding is the "victorious" part and the moment of great surprise when finding something rare/unusual/beautiful. So if I follow other's hints and directions, there's no real victory and no real surprise, it is nothing I can say I really earned myself and have deserved to see because I just hung in there or that unexpectedly knocked me off my feet because I knew it was there.
But sometimes, it is just big fun seeing a special bird, and that's the most important aspect of birding:
So I wish the same to you:
a fun and happy spring migration!

Jochen said...

And hi Mike, your comment just got in when I had published my response. Yes, it was worth it, especially considering that this was only my roughly 25th warbler of this spring season!