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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 16:46   #1
Tammie

 
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Two Mystery Birds In My Yard!

Hi Forum! :)

I'm looking for ID's please on two birds I spotted in my front yard today.
The first one was scratching on the ground, rummaging in the leaf litter and grass. It's about 6" or 7" long, beak to tail tip.
The second one was in the birch tree. Turned out to be a small flock of them, about 6 all together. They were doing a lot of tail flicking, every time they sat on a branch. I suspect they are yellow rumped warblers but I'm not sure. I don't know warblers too well!
Any help appreciated.
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Last edited by Tammie : Thursday 30th September 2004 at 16:49. Reason: More info to add.
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 17:56   #2
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Hi Tammie,

First bird seems to be a savannah sparrow to me and the second is a yellow-rumped warbler - the tail flicking you mention sounds much more like a palm warbler behaviour so it could well have been a mixed flock of warblers.

Luke

Last edited by streatham : Thursday 30th September 2004 at 18:11.
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 18:20   #3
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Hi Tammie,

Sorry should have added my reasoning Sparrow - short forked tail rules out most other heavily dark streaked sparrows - small bill, yellowish tinge to supercilium etc says classic savannah to me. Warbler - two wing bars, black/brown striping on back says myrtle type yellow-rump with streaking on sides and yello mark on side.

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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 18:25   #4
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 18:33   #5
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I have to agree...
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 19:33   #6
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Thanks so much Luke..... I believe you're right! I really wasn't sure if it was a type of sparrow or not but looking at the savannah in my book, it's a perfect match! I never noticed the yellow spot over the eye.
I suspect there were at least two different types of warbler in the tree this morning. One was flicking it's tail constantly but the one I got the photo of wasn't. It's confusing becuase they looked very similar to each other. I'll keep watching and will hopefully be able to get better photos.
Andrew and Jane: any time you're ready! :)
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 19:53   #7
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Here is a shot of what I believe to be a yellow rumped warbler. I took this at the same time that I took the other shot this morning. I believe this is the one that was flicking it's tail.
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 20:03   #8
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Could the first warbler at the beginning of this thread possibly be a Blackpoll Warbler?? The description in my guide book fits very well.
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 22:27   #9
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Hi Tammie!
You have Yellow-rumped and Palms. The Yellow-rumped has the yellow side-patches, and the Palm has the yellow undertail coverts and bobs its tail. Warbler #1 is a Yellow-rump and warbler #2 is a Palm.
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 22:41   #10
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Okay, here is a pic of a Palm Warbler I took in May. This is an unusaully bright adult male, and they are much duller in the fall.

http://www.keinetworks.org/duck/forum67.jpg
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 23:11   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brown Creeper
Okay, here is a pic of a Palm Warbler I took in May. This is an unusaully bright adult male, and they are much duller in the fall.

http://www.keinetworks.org/duck/forum67.jpg
Thanks Neil.... guess I should have known to just go directly to the resident warbler expert!!
I must admit I've never heard of a palm warbler. Have to check my book a little more closely. I didn't even realize at first that I was looking at two different birds!
A lot of people say sparrows are the most confusing bird for them to ID but I say it's warblers!
I love 'em tho'!
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Old Thursday 30th September 2004, 23:50   #12
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Hi Tammie,

Making it more confusing we see two subspecies of palm warbler here in CT - I should imagine you will too. The first to arrive in fall is the paler western subspecies (palmarum) which only shows strong yellowish undertail coverts in fall whereas the fall eastern subspecies (hypochrysea) will still be fairly yellow from throat to undertail and also often keeps a little of the chestnut cap. Both constantly pump their tail though which is very distinctive and with their preference for open habitat and feeding on the ground makes them fairly easy to identify.

I recommend Petersons Warblers Jon Dunn/Kimball Garrett if you really want to get to grips with the birds - loads of useful information on behaviour, comparisons to other warblers, migration etc and pictures as well as the exceptionally handy undertail covert plates which can really help with identifying birds.

Regards Luke

Last edited by streatham : Friday 1st October 2004 at 00:28.
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 04:20   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streatham
Hi Tammie,

Making it more confusing we see two subspecies of palm warbler here in CT - I should imagine you will too. The first to arrive in fall is the paler western subspecies (palmarum) which only shows strong yellowish undertail coverts in fall whereas the fall eastern subspecies (hypochrysea) will still be fairly yellow from throat to undertail and also often keeps a little of the chestnut cap. Both constantly pump their tail though which is very distinctive and with their preference for open habitat and feeding on the ground makes them fairly easy to identify.

I recommend Petersons Warblers Jon Dunn/Kimball Garrett if you really want to get to grips with the birds - loads of useful information on behaviour, comparisons to other warblers, migration etc and pictures as well as the exceptionally handy undertail covert plates which can really help with identifying birds.

Regards Luke
Hi Luke, thanks for the information. I just might look for that book! This is at least the third species of warbler I've come across in my yard since moving here this past spring. It's great! I've never had much experience with warblers until now.
Oddly, the palm I saw today was in the tree with the yellow rumped yet most people say they're on the ground more. Not today!
I'll be watching again tomorrow and will hopefully get better photos.
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 13:54   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tammie
Could the first warbler at the beginning of this thread possibly be a Blackpoll Warbler?? The description in my guide book fits very well.
I think you are right, that the first warbler is probably a fall Blackpoll. The large area of white undertail covert, it appears to extend way up into the body, the heavy, somewhat blurry streaking along the lower side breast area (it's finer on a Yellow-rumped) and the yellow higher on the breast all say Blackpoll, I believe. Then there's the streaking on the upper back rather than a "spotty" appearence. All of the yellow-rumped varieties show a yellow rump at all seasons and there isn't even a hint of one on your bird.
It's difficult to say 100% because fall Blackpolls are really tough to tell from several other species. I talked on a different thread about the amount of time we spent earlier this fall trying to id what turned out be a Blackpoll.
The second bird is probably a Palm but it's a hard to tell in that lighting.
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 14:01   #15
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Thanks Dan. I've never seen birds so hard to ID as warblers have been!
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 14:07   #16
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Hi Dan,


Fall Blackpolls show much more of a greenish overall look than this bird e.g: http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~jmorlan/blwa1.htm - and wouldn't show the distinct yellow patch under the wings that this bird shows - perhaps a yellowish wash but not that distinct yellow mark. Also with the wings aligned as they are in this shot the yellow rump would be hidden - I was just watching yellow-rumps this morning and the yellow rump and white spots in the tail only show as the bird moves not necessarily when they are perched e.g: http://www.jfoo.org/yrwarbler.shtml

Luke
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 14:17   #17
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Oy!! This is so confusing!! Yellow Rumped....... blackpoll.................
How do you find out which one it is?????
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Old Friday 1st October 2004, 19:53   #18
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Hi Tammie,

IMHO this is one of the easier ones - wait till you get to Blackpoll and Bay-Breasted or Orange-Crowned versus fall Tennessee.

To continue the arguement for Blackpoll: Blackpoll is short tailed - this bird has too long a tail for Blackpoll (note in the attached picture how little the birds tail feathers extend beyond the wings). The color is wrong for a fall Blackpoll. Also note the clear yellow patch on the side under the wing bars in your picture - even with a yellow wash in this area the Blackpoll would show feint streaking through this area - not heavy streaking behind the yellow patch and then none within the yellow patch, as the picture you took shows.

http://www.ventanaws.org/images/Bird...dQuiz02102.jpg

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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 12:46   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by streatham
Hi Dan,


Fall Blackpolls show much more of a greenish overall look than this bird e.g: http://fog.ccsf.cc.ca.us/~jmorlan/blwa1.htm - and wouldn't show the distinct yellow patch under the wings that this bird shows - perhaps a yellowish wash but not that distinct yellow mark. Also with the wings aligned as they are in this shot the yellow rump would be hidden - I was just watching yellow-rumps this morning and the yellow rump and white spots in the tail only show as the bird moves not necessarily when they are perched e.g: http://www.jfoo.org/yrwarbler.shtml

Luke
Everything that you've said is true. Where we differ is in how we interpret the picture. I would say that the yellow is a wash not distinct patches as a Yellow-rumped would have. I think we'll just have to agree to differ on this one.
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 14:24   #20
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In my opinion:

1. Savannah Sparrow

2. Yellow-rumped Warber, first fall male
The side streaks more defined on Yellow-rump than on a Blackpoll. Blackpoll would be browner overal, I believe. It looks to me like the yellow below the shoulder is more in keeping with a Yellow-rump than a Blackpoll. Perhaps a "clincher" would be light eye arcs on a Yellow-rump which the Blackpoll would not have. The Blackpoll would have a dark eyeline. This feature cannot be seen on the photo. Tammie, you might check this on subsequent birds that you might see.

3. Palm Warbler
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Old Saturday 2nd October 2004, 14:35   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry Lade
In my opinion:

1. Savannah Sparrow

2. Yellow-rumped Warber, first fall male
The side streaks more defined on Yellow-rump than on a Blackpoll. Blackpoll would be browner overal, I believe. It looks to me like the yellow below the shoulder is more in keeping with a Yellow-rump than a Blackpoll. Perhaps a "clincher" would be light eye arcs on a Yellow-rump which the Blackpoll would not have. The Blackpoll would have a dark eyeline. This feature cannot be seen on the photo. Tammie, you might check this on subsequent birds that you might see.

3. Palm Warbler

Thanks Larry! From now on, I'll definitely try to get the HEAD in the photo too!
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2004, 04:45   #22
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Just to add another opinion, I agree with Luke and Larry:

Savannah Sparrow
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Palm Warbler

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Old Sunday 3rd October 2004, 05:32   #23
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I'll take everyone's word on the Savannah Sparrow... alot of the little brown birds look the same to me. The yellow eyebrows are something I usually look for in a savannahs, and that one does seem to have them.

The second is definately a yellow rumped warbler. I managed to get one this year that shows pretty much the same colors, only this one has his wings dropped to show just exactly how he got his name:
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Old Sunday 3rd October 2004, 14:55   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave S
I'll take everyone's word on the Savannah Sparrow... alot of the little brown birds look the same to me. The yellow eyebrows are something I usually look for in a savannahs, and that one does seem to have them.

The second is definately a yellow rumped warbler. I managed to get one this year that shows pretty much the same colors, only this one has his wings dropped to show just exactly how he got his name:
Hi Dave,
That's a lovely shot! I'm hoping these little ones will still be around when the leaves fall within the next couple of weeks... maybe then I can get a better view and a better photo of them!
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