09 May 2011

30 sp. of warbs, Berrien Co.

We went over to Berrien County, Michigan for a half-day to bird my former haunts.  Sure, it was a lot of driving for such a brief trip but it was well worth it. 

If you're unfamiliar with Berrien County, it sits in the southwestern most corner of Michigan:
View Berrien County, Michigan in a larger map

Topping the highlights for me was the 30 species of warblers we tallied including a state bird (Kentucky) and an early Connecticut Warbler.

We started at Forest Lawn Road:  
View Forest Lawn Road in a larger map

We heard/saw:

Northern Parula
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Nashville Warbler
Yellow-throated Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Northern Waterthrush
Acadian Flycatcher
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Red-shouldered Hawk

I was itching for some Cerulean Warblers though so we skipped northwest over to the Lakeside Road bridge:  
View Lakeside Road bridge in a larger map

CERULEAN WARBLERS were singing everywhere, jostling between themselves, and even coming down to eye-level.  This was most-likely the best views I've ever had of this species in my life.  The numbers really surprised me, we had SIX in our view at once.

Here is a distant male:

Here is a male that came even farther down:

Females were around as well:

Perhaps the best bird at the Lakeside Road bridge was an early singing CONNECTICUT WARBLER.  This actually represents only the third time I've ever had this species.

Another surprise at the Lakeside Road bridge was this PROTHONOTARY WARBLER that made a brief appearance.  Thinking back, this might have been the first time I've seen this species at this location:

Some other sightings from the bridge included WHITE-EYED VIREO and various warblers.

The next stop was Floral Lane at the north edge of Warren Dunes State Park:
View Floral Lane in a larger map
It didn't take long before the many HOODED WARBLERS made themselves obvious along the trails:

Similarly, BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLERS were present in good numbers and we saw several at eye-level and even singing:

Here is a BLUE-WINGED WARBLER that was perched up and singing:

A highlight of the trip was being in the right place at the right time (for once).  While on the boardwalk at Floral Lane, we actually HEARD a Kentucky Warbler singing (a first for Michigan this year).  A couple of minutes later, we got brief but good looks at this male:

Floral Lane provided us with these 24 species of warblers:

Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Parula
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Cape May Warbler
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Kentucky Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler

We saw a lot more than warblers including 3 species of thrushes (Wood, Swainson's, and Gray-cheeked).


And here is a GRAY-CHEEKED THRUSH for comparison:

Some other sightings included 4 species of vireos:

Red-eyed Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Yellow-throated Vireo
White-eyed Vireo

Five species of flycatchers:

Least Flycatcher
Acadian Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe

We ended the morning at a local cemetery where we had this singing PINE WARBLER, our 30th warb species for the day:

So the total run-down of warbler species (and estimation of how many) we had follows:

1) Blue-winged Warbler (4)
2) Golden-winged Warbler (4)
3) Tennessee Warbler (2)
4) Orange-crowned Warbler (1)
5) Nashville Warbler (10+)
6) Northern Parula (5)
7) Yellow Warbler (3)
8) Chestnut-sided Warbler (3)
9) Magnolia Warbler (4)
10) Cape May Warbler (5)
11) Black-throated Blue Warbler (3)
12) Yellow-rumped Warbler (10+)
13) Black-throated Green Warbler (4)
14) Blackburnian Warbler (5)
15) Yellow-throated Warbler (2)
16) Pine Warbler (1)
17) Prairie Warbler (2)
18) Palm Warbler (2)
19) Cerulean Warbler (7)
20) Black-and-white Warbler (5)
21) American Redstart (3)
22) Prothonotary Warbler (1)
23) Ovenbird (5)
24) Northern Waterthrush (5)
25) Louisiana Waterthrush (1)
26) Kentucky Warbler (1)
27) Connecticut Warbler (1)
28) Common Yellowthroat (5)
29) Hooded Warbler (4)
30) Wilson's Warbler (3)