Tuesday August 22, 2017.  8 birds of 4 species; 5 recaps.  No new species.  Bird of the day was Gray Catbird, with three new bands.

Yes . . . it was slo-o-o-o-w today!  We could feel a storm approaching, and perhaps the birds could too for nothing moved and there was nary a peep from the bushes except for the soft “choock” of a catbird now and then.  We watched the radar as the morning wore on and kept an eye on the rising temperature, but the hazy clouds kept the sun out of sight and the continually strengthening breeze moderated the effect of the heat.

To keep busy, we chatted about quilting and shared our eclipse pictures, we mended and replaced nets, and we enjoyed a delightful visit from Lola (a Havana Silk pup about 2 years old) and her two human companions.

And there were birds, of course . . . one of which turned out to be a bit of a puzzler.  Take a look:



This warbler had a strong “Blackpoll-Baybreasted” vibe, but he had too many extra streaks and speckles on his head, belly, and the sides of his breast.  Looking closer, we realized the streaks and speckles were actually remnants of the bird’s juvenal plumage!  Most of the birds that migrate through BBBO molt on the breeding grounds, and then migrate . . . but this little rebel was doing both at once!  You can clearly see the upside down yellow “V” running from the neck down to the flanks – one of the first feather tracts to molt – which has already been replaced, right next to the streaky juvenile plumage still waiting its turn.  So how did we decide between Blackpoll Warbler and Bay-breasted Warbler?  The soles of the feet!  A Bay-breasted Warbler has grayish feet with no more than a hint of yellow, and a Blackpoll has bright yellow feet.  A quick look at the top photo shows dull soles, making our mystery bird a Bay-breasted.

We caught him with a chum – also a first year bird – but with fully molted plumage.  Take a look at how they are “supposed” to look  by the time they reach our station:


Even a couple of birds can make a slow day interesting!