Monday, April 19, 2010

The one that almost got away

Yellow-throated Warbler -- Sunday 4/18/10-- 10:44 a.m.-- Falconer's Rock
Photo by Beth Bergman

The Yellow-throated Warbler is one of the earliest warblers to arrive in Central Park during the spring migration season, and one of the most eagerly sought after. It can be found as early as the first week of April.

To be sure other warblers show up in April-- the Pine, the Palm, the Black & White, for instance -- but they come in larger numbers. Meanwhile the Yellow-throated seems to come alone. In 2009 one individual
Yellow-throated Warbler was found [and photographed by many] between April 12 and April 15. And though an occasional one of this species may check in for a longer stay,[ such as the bird that was seen between April 7 and April 29 in 2005] there are many years when only a single sighting of the bird is recorded.

Some years it is not found at all. Nobody seems to have a record for the Yellow-throated Warbler in 2008, for instance. Of course this doesn't mean that there were no Yellow-throated Warblers stopping over in Central Park that year.. It only means that nobody happened to find one that year. In birdwatching it's always a matter of the right person being in the right place at the right time.

Photographer Beth Bergman was the only Central Park birdwatcher in the right place at the right time yesterday. The only problem was that she didn't know it.

Here's the e-mail letter I received from Beth at 1:30 this afternoon:

Hi Marie,
Yesterday, east side of Falcon Rock, 10:44:31 - 10:45:16 a.m., one singing yellow throated warbler. I've blogged a group with the background. Didn't get correct ID until this morning. Sometimes I don't think. Yellow makes my brain fuzzy-happy, intelligence turns off.