On Saturday, September 21, Andy Arthur, Hugh Johnson, Chris Kielb and two others joined experienced birder Neil Reilly for a fall birding excursion near the Pine Bush Discovery Center. In early fall, as they migrate south for the winter, many different species of warblers mingle with chickadees and other non-migrating birds to feed on the remaining insects. These fall warblers look very similar to each other because they no longer have their distinctive summer plumage, so they are easy to confuse. They also move quickly and frequently in the still-green foliage, which adds to the challenge of identifying them. The weather was sunny and a bit cool at 8 AM, becoming warm and balmy as the morning progressed. We began the walk in a heavily wooded area east of the Center. The first birds we encountered were chickadees, accompanied by blue jays calling in the background. Neil then pointed out various warbler species flitting around among the chickadees, including northern parulas, common yellowthroats, Tennessee warblers, black throated green warblers and a relatively rare Wilson’s warbler. We also saw a mourning dove and a pair of sapsuckers (a type of woodpecker) on a tall dead tree. As we emerged into the classic pitch pine/scrub oak Pine Bush habitat we spied a cardinal, some tufted titmice and unexpectedly, a juvenile prairie warbler. Afterwards, Neil brought out a bird guide to show us the birds we had seen.
Published in October/November 2019
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