[va-bird] Bilateral gynandromorph warbler at Sunset Beach

  • From: Phoebetria@xxxxxxx
  • To: va-bird@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 08:51:20 EDT

A modest flight of warblers this morning at Sunset Beach this morning 
0645-755 included a bilateral gynandromorph Black-throated Blue Warbler: adult 
plumage on the left side of the bird, adult female on the right side.   I've 
never seen such a bird, though I have seen them reported on occasion.   The 
disbelief   ("cognitive dissonance") occasioned by such a sight is hard to 
describe: at first, I thought -- when the female seemed to turn into a male as 
turned around -- that two birds must be involved and that I was seeing things.  
But I watched, incredulous, as the male turned back into a female, and 
vice-versa, for two minutes before the bird left the little patch of woods 
the picnic shelter), heading north.   I was just 20 feet or so from the bird 
during the observation.   Plenty of normal Black-throated Blues around this 
morning for comparison, and many of the birds perched obligingly before 
continuing northward.

Other birds seen are listed below:

Gray-cheeked Thrush 1
Swainson's Thrush 1
Gray Catbird 22
Brown Thrasher 2
vireos - none!
House Wren 5
Golden-crowned Kinglet 4
Eastern Phoebe 3
Northern Flicker 5
Blue Jay - none!   (after a week with >15,000, what a surprise; but they 
migrate diurnally, a bit later)
Northern Parula 38
American Redstart 20+
Black-throated Green Warbler 14 (3 birds in a single vine tangle, twice)
Black-throated Blue Warbler 25+
Tennessee Warbler 2 (I sometimes miss this species in fall here)
Blackpoll Warbler 13
Bay-breasted Warbler 1
Magnolia Warbler 2
Prairie Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler 2
Palm Warbler (Western) 50+
Palm Warbler (Yellow) 2
unidentified Dendroica 70+
unidentified Oporornis 1
Common Yellowthroat 2 (only!)
I was surprised to see no Cape May Warblers in this flight or any sparrows, 
Winter Wrens, gnatcatchers, Black-and-white Warblers, or vireos, etc.   Cape 
Mays could have been among the streaky warblers seen passing high overhead, but 
most looked like Blackpolls or Western Palm Warblers.   Has anyone been 
impressed with the lower numbers of Blackburnian Warblers this year?   I think 
coast, with few westerlies this year, may have just had fewer migrants overall 
this fall during their window of passage.

I learned from Fletcher Smith that a Black-throated Gray Warbler was noted at 
Fisherman Island 17 September by Deanna Dawson, a specialist in Neotropical 

Ned Brinkley
Cape Charles, VA

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  • » [va-bird] Bilateral gynandromorph warbler at Sunset Beach