Greetings everyone, welcome to November albeit a bit late to the month. I was sitting down after a night of traveling around the countryside assessing various Halloween haunts (picking up ideas for our annual haunted trail) and heard the clank of the blog counter resetting as the clock crested the witching hour. That sound is definitely more intimidating during the September and October months thanks to an extremely busy schedule – November is a different story – it is actually welcomed since It means I can re-dedicate myself to something I enjoy second to experiencing the event itself – that’s talking (err typing) about the experiences. A perspective that I believe most outdoor bloggers can relate to. The only downside right now is I used up all my pre-processed images to get me through the previous months. That can be easily overcome as in the case of today’s triple F (featured feathered friend).
I still have a tremendous amount of blog material from our trips down the Texas Gulf Coast. Took a run through the folder last night and thought this cute Warbler would be worthy of introducing to my readers. This particular specimen was found at the Valley Nature Birding Center in Weslaco, Texas. You may be familiar with this location already as it was the place that gave me the national bird of Costa Rico (link here), the Inca Dove (link here) and that darling of a Warbler the Black and White (link here) to name a few. The Birding Center is a neatly tucked away gem of a birding hotspot posing as a generic park in the middle of town – go through the visitor center and out the back gates and you find yourself standing in six acres of an elaborate forest ecosystem.
Hit the jump to find out what this new bird to my list is called!
There are very nice walking paths that take you around and through the dense vegetation which birds likely consider paradise (proven by the fact that the Green Parakeets have taken it up as their home – unfortunately unable to spot one while I was there). That dense foliage has a downside in that it cuts out most of the ambient light the Beast prefers to take shots in. As a result, the ISO was pushed beyond comfort and the shutter speed dropped to dangerous levels being that I hand-hold my rig. You can see the softness creep into the Black and White Warbler pictures, but thought these came out much better – it did cut down a bit on the brilliance of the yellows these Warblers sport – on second look I should have bumped the vibrance up a bit on the shot below to compensate for the shadows.
So, if you are not familiar with this bird, probably getting anxious to know what it is. This here is a Nashville Warbler. First thought might be why is it hanging out on the southern tip of Texas and secondly where is its little cowboy boots and hat! I cannot answer the second question, but will bring that up the next time I am down there – “Ranger, my readers wanna know where their hats are…”. Now, I can answer the first question – they do not actually breed in the Nashville Tennessee area, that is just where they happened to be spotted for the first time in 1811 by Alexander Wilson. As a tangent, Wilson was born in Scotland and immigrated to Delaware after being subject to jail for his protest literature on “decrepit mill conditions”. Took him four months to make the trek by ship here. He is known as the father of American Ornithology thanks to his sketching skills and expeditions. For the record, his bio shows him passing two years after naming said Nashville (1766-1813). On Cornell’s site (link here), they state “in 1808 Wilson set off on foot, ‘in search of birds, and subscribers.’ That expedition reads like an ornithological Indiana Jones adventure. Traveling over 12,000 miles in seven years”, I’ll let you do the math on that. Then the Main Birds site (link here) noted his lifespan as (1766-1813) only to come back a paragraph later and state “He taught school for seven years in the Philadelphia area and then decided to make a collection of the birds of eastern North America. From 1803 until his death in 1814…. Maybe this would have been a better post on Halloween.
Sorry for the tangent there, but thought you might enjoy the additional factoid (good to know I will be able to bird from the spirit world). To close out with a few more tidbits about this little bird, they eat insects if you haven’t already figured that out from the fact it is feasting on silkworms. They can pretty much be considered a migratory bird to the US spending their summers up in southern Canada and then migrating to Central America for the winter months – this Texas spotting is right on the northern edge of their wintering region. The have a chestnut crown patch which they rarely show – I actually never really noticed this until reading about it – you can just see a tinge of it on the last shot. Next time I am lucky enough to see one of these I’ll pay more attention to trying to get that feature more prominent – bird willing of course.
That is all I have for you today. Hope you enjoyed seeing my new addition to my birding list and learning about one of our true pioneers in the birding culture of the US – thanks Scotland for running him out.