Monday, October 22, 2012

Tennessee Warbler in Tucson!

1. Tenn warbler-kab Tennessee Warbler seen from my Tucson yard 10-22-12

I was going to do a different blog post for today but when Life Bird comes to visit you, well, everything else just gets put aside! It was a gorgeous morning  here in Tucson and I was sitting on my balcony enjoying the clear skies and cool temperatures. As usual I was drinking my coffee and counting my yard birds. After awhile i picked up my pen and started writing poetry. I had been outside for almost an hour and decided I needed to go back inside and finally eat some breakfast. As I stood up to go in I noticed a yellow-green bird on a tree with a few lesser goldfinches.

2. TN Warbler-kab On closer examination I noticed it was a warbler and not a goldfinch. It moved differently and it had a different beak. Due to it’s overall yellow-green-gray color and the bit of an eyeline and the lack of wingbars I assumed it was an Orange-crowned warbler and I noted it as such in my notebook. I was so excited to think that I would be adding a new yard bird to my list. I was also excited because this would be the first orange-crowned warbler I have seen since my return to Tucson 2 months ago. Since the bird seemed to be hanging around, I went back inside to get my camera. fortunately for me, when I came back out it was still there and I started snapping away.

3. TNWA-kab After taking about 25 shots the bird flew off to the front yard and last I knew it was headed south. So, inside I go to submit my remarkable Orange-crowned warbler to eBird. Only, when I pull up the list I discover there are 2 sub-species of Orange-crowned warblers seen in this area! One is called lutescens and it is the brightest subspecies, while orestra is the largest and is intermediate in brightness to lutescens and celata, a third northern and eastern subspecies. But here is the clincher. All orange-crowned warblers have YELLOW undertail coverts. Under-tail coverts are those fluffy little feathers that cover a bird’s vent underneath its tail. I suppose you could think of them as the birdy version of “underpants!”

4. Tenn in Tucson-kab Learning this bit of information made me immediately consult the photos I had taken. to my utter surprise this bird had WHITE under-tail coverts! And only a Tennessee Warbler looks like an orange-crowned but with white under-tail coverts instead! Well, by now I was quite excited and a little bit afraid. If I submitted this bird count to eBird I knew it would be flagged and I would have to prove that I saw what I saw. Thank goodness I took these photos! I also posted them on my Facebook Page and on The Facebook Bird ID Group of the World where many more experience birders confirmed my sighting!

5. TNWA-kab So, now I have been sitting here all day trying to get this ID confirmed and writing this exciting blog post! It has been 3 months since I added any new Life Birds to my list. Who knew that one would just show up in my yard!

6. warbler in mesquite-kab The Tennessee Warbler in Tucson is chowing down on AZ insects!

7. Tennesse-kab I’m getting a bit hungry now myself!

8. white undertail coverts-kab Thanks for stopping by Tennessee!

9. TN warbler-kab 

10. TNWA-kab 

11. life bird 429-kab Notice the white under-tail coverts and the lack of wingbars.

12. cute face-kab This photo is a bit blurry but I liked the view of its face.

13. good-bye-kab Tennessee Warbler silhouette!

Good-bye Tennessee!

Life Bird # 429!

Note: Upon further research I have discovered that this species was last seen in Tucson at Christopher Columbus park in November of 2011 according to eBird. I was also asked to submit my photos and a written record of this sighting to the Arizona Field Ornithologists and the Arizona Bird Committee, which I have done.

Links:

26 comments:

  1. How exciting! Looks like we are playing back-and-forth on our life bird list. I am sitting at 443 right now. My last AZ trip must have got me caught up.

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    1. Robert, I am surprised that in all my travelling across country this summer I did not see a single new life bird. Then, surprise! This one visits me in my own backyard!

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  2. The Tennessee Warbler is a beautiful bird. Great shots and congrats on your life bird, Kathie!

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  3. What excitement! A Lifer at that! Beautiful little bird and great shots!

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    1. Kathryn, I was already excited when I though it was an orange-crowned. It got even better when I realized it was a Tennessee Warbler!

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  4. Hi Katie..How awesome is that..lucky you right in your own back yard!!! : )
    Love all those shots of the cutie, and the underpants
    comment : )!
    Grace

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    1. Grammie G, I am glad you enjoyed this and even more glad that I made you smile!

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  5. Very cool. Great pictures. Taking photos is always a good idea. So many times I've discovered I've seen something other than what I thought!

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  6. This is extremely exciting news and the Rare Bird Alert may also be interested in your photos. http://birding.aba.org/maillist/AZ

    Congrats on this lifer! Good eye on this one:)

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    1. Rohrerbot, Thanks I will check it out!

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  7. You Rock Kathie. No, you Bird! I am so impressed. These shots are excellent. Not only do I need to learn birds from you but also some photog lessons. Congrats on another lifer.

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    1. Thanks Gaelyn! I am constantly learning new things myself!

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  8. Congratulations that is a beautiful little bird. (and I learned a bit of bird anatomy too).

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    1. Gillian, that's great! I'm glad you learned something! I always like to learn new things!

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  9. Wow, this is amazing! What a great surprise. I also live in the Tucson area, and I'm regularly amazed by all of the species that visit and live here permanently. Such a rare, backyard treat!

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    1. Clamour, Welcome to my blog! I am so glad you stopped by. Finding new species is always a delight for me. We do live in a wonderful place!

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  10. How wonderful to find something rare in your yard! Glad you were able to ID it. Warblers can be a pain to figure out. Wonderful photos of it!

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    1. Mary, they sure are challenging, espcially in fall plumage!

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  11. What a terrific find, Kathie ... and even better, it was in your own backyard! It's always fun to spot a rare bird. I really enjoyed scrolling through this series of photographs. Glorious captures of this beautiful warbler!

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    1. Julie, I was so glad it stayed around long enough for me to et my camera and photograph it!

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  12. Awesome Kathie! Great sighting, nice work, congratulations on 429!

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    1. Laurence, I was amazed when I realized just what I was looking at!

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Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.