I got out of the car with fingers crossed. I had brought my house guests to see Golden-winged Warblers. They had never seen them and the birds are declining. Looking for Hooded Warblers weeks ago, I happened to have heard the Golden-winged at this spot. So I knew they were around, but any time you go birding, especially during nesting season when the birds are quiet, it is a crap shoot.
After dousing ourselves with bug spray, we headed down the path to where I knew there were Hooded Warblers doing family duty. Stopping to listen, we ticked off what we were hearing: Hooded Warbler, Ovenbird, Warbling Vireo, Eastern Pewee, American Redstart…. From the corner of my eye I saw movement. When I swung up my binoculars, I saw a beautiful Blue-winged Warbler, then a female Redstart dashed across my field of view. As I followed her, there he was, a Gold-winged Warbler with his classic black triangle throat patch. I shouted to my friends. “Hey, Goldens!”
Since there are both Blue-wings and Golden-wings nesting in the same spot, I left them ogling while I trotted back to the car to grab the Petersen to refresh on what the hybrids look like. We saw no hybrids today. But we did see a lot of Golden-wingeds.
The birding was amazing today. I need to get over there more often.
Our grand total: 32 species. Great Blue Heron, a large family of Wood Ducks, a small family of Canada Geese, Broad-winged Hawk, Turkey Vulture, Mourning Dove, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Downy Woodpecker, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Wood-pewee, Great-crested Flycatcher, Tree Swallows, Black-capped Chickadee, White-breasted Nuthatch, American Robin, Indigo Bunting, Veery, Catbird, Crow, Red-eyed Vireo, Warbling Vireo, American Redstart, Blue-winged Warbler, Golden-winged Warbler, Ovenbird, Hooded Warbler, Baltimore Oriole, Red-winged Blackbird, Phoebe, Yellow Warbler, Northern Cardinal, Eastern Towhee, Brown-headed Cowbird.