New Patch Species Palm Warbler

Returning Saturday night after spending the latter half of the week in Boston I finally got some birding in Sunday afternoon. Not feeling like driving I hit the local patch which netted two new patch species Palm Warbler and Northern Waterthrush. Neither is exactly uncommon but this patch doesn’t have the most bird friendly habitat. So any new species is always welcomed.

I didn’t walk the complete loop since water was standing in many places. The Northern Waterthrush was calling along the creek in the West Woods. It came in close responding to my pishing but in the open for only a few seconds.

The White-throated Sparrows weren’t shy like the Northern Waterthrush but did keep to the bushes.

Along the West Wood’s south path a rufous bird flew low into the brush. Brown Thrasher probably, Wood Thrush maybe. Since I wasn’t sure I stood waiting for a glimpse and listening to it scratching in the leaves.

This gave a small bird the opportunity to slowly make its way up the path. Stopping on a bush limb. Then jumping out on the path. And back on a limb. On first glimpse I thought it was a Golden-crowned Kinglet since the yellow was so intense. But it didn’t take a second to recognize the yellow of a Palm Warbler.

Patch Species Palm Warbler
Here is the new patch species Palm Warbler. The yellow eyebrow was so intense I initially thought this Palm Warbler was a Golden-crowned Kinglet.

I stood watching the bird move down the path passing within a foot, not recognizing I wasn’t part of the landscape. It continued to forge moving on down the path.

Maybe I wasn’t as unrecognizable as I thought.
In classic Palm Warbler style the warbler kept wagging its tail up and down.

On the day I flushed the resident Barred Owl who was deep in woods. Not sure why it flushed since I really wasn’t close. And the Red-tailed Hawks called when I got close to their nest tree. So I assume they still have young ones.

And it was a Brown Thrasher lurking in undergrowth.

A Sad Story

I was really glad to see Palm Warblers at a couple of different locations this past Sunday. Because if I hadn’t seen them it would have led to one of those birding dilemmas.

A Palm Warblers I pished in and remained sitting up in the sunlight. Greenwood Retaining Ponds 10/18/15

I have missed several of the migratory species this year and missing Palm Warblers would have just added insult to injury.  Palm Warblers are usually one of the last warblers to move through so I held out hope that I would see them. Otherwise I would have been forced to list one from a sad story.

I’m just enough of a lister that I like to see my state’s year list just high enough that I have done the minimum amount of birding through the year.  And since I switched jobs earlier this year and living in the Eastern Time Zone, I don’t seem to be in the field anywhere near enough. That hopefully will change as I adapt to the job.

The first Palm Warbler of the day. Meijer Retaining Pond 10/18/15
Same bird showing that Palm Warblers are constantly pumping their tails. Meijer Retaining Pond 10/18/15

Heading into this past weekend I had seen a Palm Warbler.  But I really didn’t want to add it to the list.  Maybe if I had ended the year one short of my goal I might have begrudgingly added it.

The Sad Story

One of my co-workers and I were sitting outside eating lunch in early October. It’s one of those typical brick patios with outdoor tables that manufacturing facilities seem to have. The patio area is open to the east with the south and west walls part of the factory and the north wall is windows for the inside lunch area.  Shrubs and small trees are spattered about.

There is a flock of House Sparrows that live in the area and they are constantly flying into the area to get crumbs off the ground.  They’ll zoom in from the south parking lot one or two at a time. They usually are moving fast and head into a bush and then to the ground for food.

So when a small bird zoomed by without any halting motion of going into the bush I knew it was something different. Definitely not a House Sparrow. Even my non-birding co-worker started to comment “What was that?” And then the


I knew right away that the bird was dead.  There was no way going that speed it could have survived the impact.

It was a Palm Warbler that didn’t survive the impact. Not much else to say…

But the problem from a listing perspective was that I saw it alive before it hit the window. And I really didn’t want to count it and did the eBird gods need to know that there was a Palm Warbler in Shelby County?  No.

So I didn’t count it and hoped I would encounter some later so I wouldn’t have to resort to counting it. Which luckily I don’t have too after this past weekend.

Hopefully this guy will avoid windows and keep moving south. Greenwood Retaining Ponds 10/18/15
Bonus photo of a White-crowned Sparrow that popped up to see what all that pishing noise was about. Greenwood Retaining Ponds 10/18/15