Fall Warblers, Mammoth

Observers: Donna Willey
Email: basina@verizon.net
Date: 09/04/2007
Time: 01:14 PM -0400

There is a great movement of avian life taking place now, in the eastern Sierras and across the continent. It is a silent movement and probably missed by most people for you need to be observant to the natural world not the city lights and not technology, to see it. Although the technology of great optics certainly helps one to see the birds. Below is a collage of photos of 3 Fall Warblers. I saw them in the Spring and now again as they move through the high altitude forest heading south. They are for me, the very loveliest of birds; I am always transfixed when I catch sight of one usually inspecting the leaves of aspen, alder and the pine and fir needles of conifers in their relentless search for insects. They flit from leaf to leaf, needle cluster to needle cluster and if you listen you can hear their territorial high "chip" call. Their colors are fantastic and I've never seen any man-made color combinations that can compete with the mantle of yellows, greens, blacks and grays that adorn these little birds. When I'm out in the field and I scope the trees I am always looking for the remarkable little eye-ring, so white and distinct that usually encircles their eye, yet not always and some of their species don't have the "white eye-ring" at all. The photos below will highlight 3 of the Warbler family: The Nashville Warbler, The Orange-Crowned Warbler and Audubon's Western Yellow-rumped Warbler. All of these are Fall migrants and probably on their way south. The Nashville Warbler is probably of the race "ridgewayi" and winters in W. Mexico south to Guatemala. Small numbers will winter along the Calif. coast. In my book of Costan Rican migrants one can find mention of the Nashville warbler but it is probably the race called "ruficapilla." The Orange-crowned Warbler; as a species they usually winter from the southern U.S. south into Mexico to Guatemala. The sub-species "lutescens" winters from central CA and sw Arizona south through Baja CA to sw Mexico with small numbers wintering along the CA coast north to the Oregon coast and sightings as far as B.C. The photos of the OCWA are probably of the sub-species "lutescens."

The Yellow-rumped Warbler is the most abundant and most widespread warbler found in the U.S. (according to Peterson's FG) and both the Myrtle & Audubon's races may be found wintering in the U.S.  The Yellow-rumped is the only regular wintering warbler in the Eastern Sierra in winter (Owens Valley).

Orange-crowned Warbler

Nashville Warbler

"Audubon's" Yellow-rumped Warbler