[Ontbirds]possible ridgwayi Nashville Warbler at Little River

David McNorton mcnorton at sympatico.ca
Mon Oct 23 17:33:31 EDT 2006


At 1:30 this afternoon, October 23, 2006, I saw a Nashville Warbler on the north side of the Little River woodlot.  Two things puzzled me about its appearance.  First of all, it had a fairly prominent yellow rump patch... which threw me in the direction of some of the other Vermivora warblers related to the Nashville.  The lack of any breast striping ruled out the Dendroica yellow-rumped warblers, including the Cape May and the Magnolia.  But, second, it wagged its tail horizontally.   I had never seen such behaviour in any Nashville Warbler.

Referring to the Peterson guide to the Warblers, I found the ridgwayi subspecies of the Nashville Warbler has both a yellow-green rump patch - although the bird I saw was distinctly yellow, rather than yellow-green.  The breast colour matched the bird I saw - it seems to be a richer yellow than the Eastern subspecies.  It also wags its tail.  This bird's normal habitat is west of the Rockies, in a population that is isolated from the Eastern, or ruficapilla subspecies.  

The area where I saw the bird is most easily accessible from the footbridge at the eastern end of Wyandotte St. in Windsor.  The bridge is not open to cars yet, but parking on it should not be a problem.  Walk across Little River, and head south into the nearest piece of woodlot.


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