[Ontbirds] Potential Warbler Hybrid at Sam Smith

stg1 at rogers.blackberry.net stg1 at rogers.blackberry.net
Fri May 20 20:50:58 EDT 2011

Today at approximately 2:30pm, I viewed a warbler, brought to my attention by a fellow birder, that I could not positively identify after getting clear looks at a distance of 15-30 feet for 5 minutes. The birder who brought it to my attention indicated he viewed it for a much longer period. A third birder also saw it with us.

I wrote down the field marks I observed about 30 minutes after seeing it. 

The bird had many fields marks suggesting female American Redstart - a grayish olive back and tail, a grayish head, pale yellow wing bars, pale yellow patches on the side of its breast, and pale yellow patches on its tail. The bird's upper and mid-throat, belly and undertail were all a creamy white to faint gray.  I did not notice any eye-ring. 

The distinguishing feature was a broad jet-black "bib" extending across much of its upper chest (and possibly extreme lower throat), almost identical to the black bib characteristic of a male Mourning warbler. There was no black anywhere else on the bird and the bib contrasted strikingly against its upper chest. It foraged deliberately along the branches of the tree it was spotted in, and appeared much less active than a typical redstart. It did fan its tail at least once.

It was seen on the east side of the playing field and in the red osier dogwood and scrub patch south of the bowl and was in a mature tree immediately beside one of the two paths that bisect the patch.

My initial, and admittedly shaky guess is that it may have been a hybrid (redstart x mourning?) But if I have mis-identified it or if anyone can shed some light, any input is welcome.

If either of the two birders who saw it happen to read this post and can recall any other features of the bird or can confirm my description, I'd appreciate it.

Dave P.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

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