Robin Hood of Dauphin Island

Decided to play it safe today and take my miles on the hilly roads of Jubilee State Park. Getting lost TWICE in the same week would be too much for my ego to endure. Being very familiar with every pothole, tar blemish, dip, undulation, steep hill and deep valley in the park meant I could figuratively sit back and enjoy the run. Incredibly happy that my ’21 running goals were already checked off for the year – the 50K redemption check (link here), the 50M magnet proudly displayed on the back of the truck (that horror story is finally up on the mothership – link here) and blew past my 1200 miles threshold for the year at the end of November. Last year I had to pound out 50 mile weeks in late December to reach that goal ugh. If it gives you any indication of how much extra training it took for those ultras this year, I basically lost 7 weeks due to vacation and another 3-4 weeks due to injury and recovery and still hit the yearly goal a month ahead of plan – the pile of used of shoes is testament to the feat (see what I did there hehehe). Relied on either running friends or tunes to get through the normal every other day… every day a month out and two-a-days in the weeks leading up to the big runs. It is actually those running playlists that brings you today’s featured feathered friend.

Hooded Warbler found on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Don’t think there is a running playlist on my phone that doesn’t have at least one Bryan Adams song on it (the rest can get quite aggressive). Talk about songs that have stood the test of time. If you can listen to songs like Summer of 69 or Cuts Like a Knife without singing along then you might be dead inside ha! I always have to glance around to make sure NOBODY is around so as not to embarrass myself ‘cuz I am not a singer and didn’t stay at a Holiday Inn Express. To my credit, I did marry an SAI member (opposites do attract). If you are still with the thread, this enjoyment from Adams led me to watch his Interview by Dan Rather last night. Absolutely despise Rather, but wanted to get an update on the Bryan with a ‘Y’. In that interview he talked about the I Do It For You song he wrote for the Kevin Costner Robin Hood movie. Not a fan of that song, but to his credit, try to go to a wedding without hearing that. He joked that the people who asked him to write a song for that movie hated it and doesn’t play until the credits start rolling at the end.

Hooded Warbler found on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Hit the jump to finally get to my 8 degrees on this smartly colored bird!

“Hey Bri (with an ‘I’), get to the point about today’s bird already!” Yeah, yeah, yeah – so here we go, I run a lot, I listen to music a lot on those run, Bryan (with a ‘Y”) is a staple in those playlists, watched an interview of him last night, Adams talked about his big sappy hit for the movie, a movie called Robin Hood Prince of Thieves, it hit me on the run today I had my own Hood of the Forest and that is how you are now looking at the Warbler Hood of Dauphin Island. As you can tell, I’ve gotten really, really good at keeping my mind OFF the fact I am torturing my body hehehe.

Hooded Warbler found on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

In truth, the real name of today’s feature is a Hooded Warbler. Not sure where it keeps its quiver and supply of arrows though. Before my visit to Dauphin Island back in April, I had never seen or even heard of this particular Warbler. They spend their non-breeding season in Central America and the northern tip of South American along with most of the Caribbean Islands. In the spring they brave the difficult Gulf crossing at the dead of night to reach their favorite breeding areas in the eastern portion of the States. They pretty much draw a northern line at the top of the broke state of IL. It should be noted they go out of their way to avoid being seen by me in the Heart of Illinois – just curve right around it – nothing to see here, so sorry. Still, with all the time I spend outside of my home area in the state you would think I’d come across at least one – nope. It took a fallout in the Gulf Shores for me to witness my very first one.

Hooded Warbler found on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Actually, there were a LOT more than just one. My tins were full of these Hoods to the point I already have plans for a part two next year. It only took the first encounter to get this bird’s forever name – Knotta Wilson’s. At first I thought I was looking at a Wilson’s Warbler which I have seen plenty of times (link here). They have similar yellow coloring (although on later review noticed the Hoods have a brighter yellow hue), and they both have a very black cap. Asked a birder standing near me if she could tell me what this was as the extended part of the black hood was throwing me off.

Hooded Warbler found on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Always appreciative with the birding community – as is generally the case she politely replied it was a very beautiful Hooded Warbler. I always brace for the condescending response as if I didn’t belong to be standing anywhere near them and needed to go buy a reference book – probably should stop worrying about that as I can only think of handful of times that has ever happened. I’ve heard stories this might be more common across the pond, but stateside birders are a very pleasant bunch – those that aren’t I toss Ron’s direction ha!

Hooded Warbler found on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

So what about our Hooded friend here. It is pretty easy to spot the adult males, you are looking at one now – they have the jet black feathering that forms the hood. Females and immatures have a sparse top part of the hood, but it dissipates quickly as it starts down past the eye. It sort of reminds me of Big Horn Sheep as the black fades out in the shape of an adult male’s horns. The female shots didn’t make it into today’s collection – look for her in part 2. They are thicker than a lot of the Warblers I’ve seen especially in the neck area – they must have a really good football team.

Hooded Warbler found on Dauphin Island, Alabama in April 2021

Contrasting with the blinding yellow on the bellies and head, the backs of the Hooded are more olive green. According to Cornell, they will often reveal a set of inner black feathering (referenced as a black eye) and a white highlights on the outside of the tail. Theory is they flash these features to startle insects into exposing themselves. I was able to get you few shots of those white markings – the “black eye” wasn’t that visible from the angles I did get – something to focus on during the next encounter. These Warblers are a bit secretive choosing to spend a lot of time obscured by vegetation. Took me a while to get some clear shots as they rarely went too far off the forest floor. Never did get to hear one sing so I am not much help on that front. Cornell coded it as “Richie Rich, I’m right here”. I kind of hear that in their song samples – probably not something I could pick out in the field.

Hope you enjoyed the latest addition to my bird list. For those keeping score.. that is number two-niner-niner. Lastly, let me help you get this out of your head “I got my first real six-string, bought it at the five-and-dime. Played it ’til my fingers bled. Was the newbird for [2]’99”

Oh, to put the wonder to bed, in the interview, Bryan picked that year for the sexual reference – you knew it all along ha!

25 thoughts on “Robin Hood of Dauphin Island”

    1. Thank you Belinda, appreciate the kind words. It took some time but eventually got something in the tin worth showing people. Damn things didn’t want to come out into the open very much and the surrounding foliage kept grabbing my focus at just the wrong time. Have a great rest of your week and thanks for stopping in.

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  1. That hooded warbler is gorgeous. Wow. Fantastic photos. I like Mel Brooks “Men in Tights” when it comes to Robin Hood movies. Just thinking about “circumcision half off!” cracks me up. It’s actually raining out here. ¡Milagro! I have wet cats coming in to dry off on me.

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    1. Thank you Tim, on of the more ornate Warblers for sure. Mel cracks me up – a true pioneer in comedy that would probably be hampered by the cancel culture taking hold these days. Men in Tights definitely made me laugh … “we’re straight … just merry”. Eeeesh, wet Cats – my dogs find it entertaining to come in from a morning rain and jump on me in bed – me, not amused! Give Spunk a nice scratch between the ears for me. Stay dry!

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      1. We definitely lucked out with our New World Warblers – we have our share of dull birds, but this family got more than their fair share of color when it was being handed out!

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      1. I’m inching my way to the goal line. Thank god I do not have any corporate work (especially performance reviews) to get done in the meantime ha!

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  2. I will be learning a lot about new birds here and fun stories along the way. At the beginning you brought up two words I have not thought about in years, performance reviews, I retired 6 years ago now. I am so glad those days are over. 🙂

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    1. Good to hear Sandra, I always try to add some bird knowledge for my readers to take away! I used to shudder at the mention of performance reviews – this is the first year I haven’t had to write one in over 31 years and it is a great feeling. I did have to write one last year to close out my last year of corporate life, but that was probably the shortest one I ever had to do as the results had zero impact on me financially – the standard part covering which areas I was going to target for improvement on the following year was quite the laugher – sleeping in, hunting for Owls, working in the forest…. I did give myself an average rating this year – need to get out into the field more ha! Take care Sandra.

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  3. Glad you caught the white wing and tail flashes – that was what called them to my attention when I first saw them at the Neotropical Bird Sanctuary in Galveston. Also completely tickled that you managed to squeeze “SAI” and “Warbler” into the same post (assuming that SAI is Sweet Adeline’s International) – I can’t sing, but I do enjoy going to their concerts and competitions.

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    1. Definitely lucked out on the tail features – not only did it come out of the underbrush, it flashed me the goods! There is a chance we might be heading down to Galveston soon – never heard of their Neotropical Bird Sanctuary – will definitely try and check that out there if we make a final decision to commit to that area. I asked Linda on the SAI specifics as I couldn’t remember what it stood for – turns out it is a Greek International Professional Music Greek Fraternity not the Sweet Adeline’s International – both music based though. Appreciate you dropping in Sam – I am waaaay behind on responding to comments and post reading trying to get everything ready for Christmas and trying to close out my bird count goal – apologize for the delay.

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  4. Oh pretty yellow warbler! What a photogenic guy, must have known he was 299.😊 The first part of your post just made my old war wounds hurt from the number of miles you ran last year. How anyone does that sort of thing for fun earns my respect! Can’t wait to see who is featured as 300…

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    1. Hamming it up for the 2nd to last entry in the ’21 bird goal! Admittedly, the miles are starting to wear me down a bit – thankfully the goal is out of the way, but it isn’t in my nature to go very long without running so I’ve still been getting out when I can (7 today ha). Looking forward to January which is my recovery month. I need to get through a number of injuries – some that have been nagging on me for over 6 months now and then some more recent items. I know you might be surprised, but the life of an ultra-runner isn’t very glamorous ha! One to go .. anticipation is building…. Take care CJ, hearing some lockdowns are coming over there, not sure if you are impacted or not.

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      1. Thanks for the heads up! We just saw that there is a surprise news conference set for tonight over the current situation. Hubby and I feel lucky we took our vacation to Spain just in time as it is rumored they will close everything (except essentials). I know they speeded up the boosters here and we should be getting ours before Christmas. Can’t imagine what this must be like for Linda with her heart condition. What a roller coaster!!! Stay safe and set a bird goal for 2022 as we all will need some distraction from World events. Happy Holidays from NL and The Cedar Journal (currently parked in COVID restrictions).

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      2. Looks like Denmark is shutting down so guessing you are not far behind. I have a good friend in Ireland that just told me they stocked up with wine and cheese as they are about to lock down as well. To be honest, Linda made a decision well over a year ago not to let Covid fears rule her life and will never listen to this worthless administration or worse “Fauclsly”. The lies spewing out of that camp right now are pathetic. Got our base shots and we’ve been living a full year using common sense precautions without an issue (knock on wood). – I kid she is basically bionic now anyway hehehe. There will definitely be a bird goal for 2022. Ron and I are thinking about doing an “Average Year” which is essentially a “Big Year” minus the insane investment and constant travel. Something neither of us has done so that might be interesting. Will also up my target for unique birds … assuming I can get to 300! Take care CJ and keep the spirits up.. or at least uncorked ha.

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      3. That idea of drinking through this situation has crossed my mind although the cost of therapy/rehab after this finally clears didn’t seem like a great option.😂 Your prediction that we would close came true last night at 7pm EU time! We are now on the strictest lockdown since the vaccines were available. They call it a preventative measures as the hospitals are still dealing with huge amounts of Delta patients and with the increased spread they know the hospitals can’t keep up.
        I know I wouldn’t want to be in any leadership position right now as you can never make everyone happy and every decision is questionable. Really it is just crisis management.

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  5. How about a collaborative “Average Year”? Tag team with folks that are already travelling to parts of the country/continent you might not be able to get to or do not have plans to travel to in 2022. (like certain Pacific Islands for example) Or other far flung US States. Assign homework and hope for usable photos (minus identification in my case). Or a “Global Average Year”.

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    1. Hmmmm, or maybe a encourage fellow birders to create or restart their wildlife blogs and then provide maybe monthly challenges – birds with color red, bird with endangered status, bird on one leg, bird attacking person you are with… thinking there might just be something there!

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    1. Still working on the ’22 goals – I never set those until 2/1 so I can thoroughly think those through before I commit. One thing for sure I will be doing an “average” year this year (a big year for people without a lot of money and don’t want to be traveling every day of the year ha). Well on my way already with the new year down here in Texas and clicking away like crazy and only two days in to the new year!!

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