[TN-Bird] Re: Nashville Warbler (???)

  • From: Chris Sloan <csloan1973@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rknight8@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2012 17:35:52 -0500

Here's why I believe this is a Common Yellowthroat:

1.  The bill and head shape are all wrong for Nashville.  Nashville is one
of the smallest warblers and has a very thin, sharply pointed bill with a
dove-like, very rounded head.  This bird shows the heavier bill and flatter
head shape that is a typical of a yellowthroat.

2.  The white eye-ring is nowhere near thick and prominent enough for a
Nashville.  Nashville shows a very thick, bright, uniform white eye ring.
 This bird shows a fairly weak eye ring.  Admittedly it's more prominent
than most yellowthroats, but it's nowhere near strong enough for a
Nashville.  Yellowthroats can show a pale eye ring like this at times.

3.  The color or the head is misleading.  Yellowthroats have a grayish
brown head also, but the real test is the contrast between the head and the
rest of the upperparts, which is uniform in yellowthroat and sharply
contrasting in Nashville.  We can't see that in these photos.  I do not
believe the color shown here is as gray as Rick interprets.  It's hard to
say for sure in that light, but to me it looks fine for a yellowthroat.

Remember that the null hypothesis here has to be Common Yellowthroat at
this time of year, particularly in a location that is quite literally
covered up with them as breeders.  In my opinion, this bird shows no
characteristics that are inconsistent with a Common Yellowthroat.

Chris Sloan
Nashville, TN

On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 1:08 PM, Chris Sloan <csloan1973@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:

> I will post more substantive comments when I have time after work, but I
> stand by my response to Ed that, in my opinion, this is quite clearly a
> Common Yellowthroat for a number of reasons.
> Chris Sloan
> Nashville, TN
> http://www.chrissloanphotography.com
> On Fri, Jun 29, 2012 at 12:01 PM, Richard Knight 
> <rknight8@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>wrote:
>> A few days back Ed Schneider posted a photo of a warbler for which he was
>> unsure of
>> the ID.  In an off-list email conversation, he said the the consensus
>> opinion was for
>> female Common Yellowthroat.  There has been no public discussion of the
>> ID, so I am
>> weighing in.
>> I believe it is a Nashville Warbler.
>> My reasoning:
>> 1)  the head is too gray for female Com. Yellowthroat, which should be
>> brownish-olive.
>> 2)  the eye-ring is a little too bold, but head color & eye-ring are
>> right for Nashville.
>> 3)  the yellow underneath is too extensive & even-toned for yellowthroat,
>> which should
>>      be shaded from fairly bright in throat to dull yellow on lower
>> breast.
>> 4)  culmen shape appears to be straight, unlike slightly down-curved for
>> yellowthroat.
>> The amount of yellow underneath & bill shape are good for Nashville.
>> While Nashville Warblers in spring migration usually occur higher up in
>> trees than the
>> bird in the photo, which is in blackberry brambles, I often see fall
>> migrant Nashvilles
>> in low shrubby stuff including goldenrod & ragweed.  So habitat shouldn't
>> be an issue.
>> Photo IDs are sometimes harder than in-life IDs, since there is only one
>> angle per photo,
>>  no vocalizations or behavioral clues, etc.  However, you can stare at
>> the photo for as
>> long as you want & analyze visible details.
>> Apparently this would be the first summer record of a Nashville Warbler
>> in TN, as
>> Robinson (1990) lists none & I don't recall any since then.  It could be
>> a very late
>> spring migrant or, more likely, an early fall migrant (perhaps a failed
>> breeder) or
>> a wandering non-breeder.  Nashvilles do nest as far south as northern
>> West Virginia.
>> Comments welcome.
>> Rick Knight
>> Johnson City, TN
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> *From:* Ed Schneider <ed.schneider@xxxxxxxxxxx>
>> *To: *tn bird <tn-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> *Sent:* 6/23/2012 3:39:54 PM
>> *Subject:* [TN-Bird] Nashville Warbler (???)
>> Bells Bend Park, Davidson Co.
>> 23 June, 2012
>> I realize there are no summer records for this bird, and I wouldn't
>> expect there to be. I of course thought I was
>> photographing a female Common Yellowthroat, but the eye ring seemed WAY
>> to strong compared to the female
>> and first year yellowthroats I've seen.
>> That being said, the bill shape doesn't scream Oreothylpis to me at all,
>> and the habitat is of course all wrong for
>> Nashville even in migration.
>> Anyone care to share some thoughts on a bird that threw me for a small
>> loop this morning? I imagine COYE can
>> be extremely variable, and I'm still an advanced novice at best... always
>> nice to get a photo of a questionable bird,
>> however.
>> Thanks,
>> Ed Schneider
>> Davidson Co.

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