Black-throated BLUE Warbler – Aug 24, 2006

Oh my, last night I took the time to get out and hike the Vermilion Gorge Trail, and was it ever worth it! First I got a great long look at an Ovenbird. He responded to my pstfishing and came right out on a branch to see what was going on. He was heavily streaked on the breast and had a prominent eye-ring. I could also see the orange on the crown of the head. What a great sighting! This is only the third time I have ever seen an Ovenbird, although you hear them calling a great deal up here during the breeding season.

Walking further along the trail it is pretty quiet, but then a group of calling Chickadees came through the trees. In the fall you always want to check out the groups of Chickadees, they will many times have other species of birds mixed in. This flock had other birds making chip calls and upon further investigation there were Nashville Warblers and Mourning Warblers in the group.

I thought lets try pstfishing again, and this time a new Warbler came out of the brush. Can it be??? A Black-throated BLUE WARBLER!!!!! Unbelievable!!! What a beautiful bird: they are pure white on their belly with a black throat and mask. Their back is a brilliant blue and the other striking field mark is the white patch on their wings. This is a really great sighting!

Black-throated Blue Warbler
If you look at the field guide, you will see we are on the western edge of their normal range. This bird mainly occurs in the eastern US and there aren’t too many in Minnesota. I had thought that I would have to travel over to the Lake Superior area to see one of these Warblers, but not now, I’ve just saved myself some gasoline!

I watched him for quite a while before he flitted away. He was striping insects off the branches; at one point, a tiny insect flew out over the branch and he caught it mid-air. After he left, I got out my field guide. This Warbler doesn’t molt into a “non-breeding” feather pattern. The female is plain but also has the distinctive white patches on her wings. The bird I saw was a beautiful male. Awesome! (I’m sorry, but I didn’t take this wonderful photo) By the way, this was a new bird for my LIFE list. More on that later…….

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