Black-throated Gray Warbler Male

In the past few weeks I have had several fall migrants passing through my area. The temperatures in northern California have been in the high 90’s to 104 degrees so having the only water hole in half a mile probably helps attract birds to my water feature. Click on photos for full sized images.

Water Feature

Of course I was excited when I walked onto the back porch the other day and saw a stealth, fast moving, black and white bird sneaking around in the oak trees. It was obviously not a woodpecker. No, it was a Black-throated Gray Warbler (Dendroica nigrescens).

Black-throated Gray Warbler Male

The male above was accompanied by a female…

Black-throated Gray Warbler Female

and what appeared to be a first summer youngster that I caught taking a bath!

Black-throated Gray Warbler Fledgling

And enjoying it!

Black-throated Gray Warbler Fledgling

Much easier to spot skulking about in the trees and bushes, weighing the possibility of danger against the certainty of a nice cool drink, or a refreshing bath…

Yellow Warbler Male

is the migrating Yellow Warbler (Dendroica petechia).

Yellow Warbler Male

The male above and the female below.

Yellow Warbler Female

Also hiding in plane view was a fledgling Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus), it’s parent staying hidden in the trees.

Warbling Vireo Fledgling

Finally out in the open, clinging to an oak branch, was a young female Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana). Note the remnant of the gape at the base of the beak.

Western Tanager Female Juvie

Then, the very next day, this indistinguishable bird flies down from the trees. What could it be? That large eye and what looks like a fairly large beak, with a pale lower mandible, similar to the Tanager pictured above, but a much smaller bird.

Yellow Warbler First Summer

Oh, it’s a first year Yellow Warbler!

Yellow Warbler First Summer

I love migration season! I was lucky enough to shoot a video of the Black-throated Gray and Yellow Warbler taking a bath together too! Enjoy!

Written by Larry
Larry Jordan was introduced to birding after moving to northern California where he was overwhelmed by the local wildlife, forcing him to buy his first field guide just to be able to identify all the species visiting his yard. Building birdhouses and putting up feeders brought the avian fauna even closer and he was hooked. Larry wanted to share his passion for birds and conservation and hatched The Birder's Report in September of 2007. His recent focus is on bringing the Western Burrowing Owl back to life in California where he also monitors several bluebird trails. He is a BirdLife Species Champion and contributes to several other conservation efforts, being the webmaster for Wintu Audubon Society and the Director of Strategic Initiatives for the Urban Bird Foundation. He is now co-founder of a movement to create a new revenue stream for our National Wildlife Refuges with a Wildlife Conservation Pass.