Odin, as Vegtam the Wanderer, sacrificed an eye, trading eyesight for insight, seeking the wisdom of the ages. Me too.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Golden-crowned Warbler

Golden-crowned Warbler. Golden-crowned Warbler? Golden-crowned Warbler!

The Golden-crowned Warbler is a wren-sized non-migratory Wood Warbler native to South and Central America up into central Mexico. It is extremely rare this far north, and any sighting of a wanderer would be a life bird for almost anyone.

Today we went to Valley Nature Center in Weslaco, Texas to look for a male that had reportedly been seen there. Walking the paths for some time we came up empty until we met the park naturalist Matt Kaufman, who had originally sighted the bird. The Golden-crowned is skulky, living in deep undergrowth. Trying to locate the bird by its soft ticking call, Matt strided the paths ahead of us, covering a lot of ground at what I would normally consider a non-birding pace. As we were in his backyard, we hiked up our pants and fell in behind.

He did not exactly lead us directly to the bird. After an hour of walking at that pace, Lorna decided to take a break at the water drip where the bird had been seen. Then of course we very shortly found the bird. Matt ran back to find Lorna while I followed the bird as it moved through the brushy undergrowth. Fortunately the old half-blind pirate didn't lose track of the bird before they returned. After Lorna got a good look (good being relative), I attempted to get a photograph of it. It proved to be difficult to focus on him in the twigs, even to see, always on the move in the deep undergrowth. Eventually it popped out into the open for about five seconds. I managed to get a quick focus on him and shot a quick burst and got quite lucky with one of the shots - not a tack-sharp eye focus, but an overall well-posed photo.

A nod and tip of the hat to Matt Kaufman, who helped us locate the bird. - Gunnar

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