Friday, April 4, 2008

*Which species are the earliest arriving wood-warblers in northern CA?

(* = As a complement to the previous 3/26/08 blog posting (scroll down the page) focused on arrival times of wood-warblers in n. IL/Midwest, here's a northern CA/West Coast answer to the above question.


If you're in northern California where I live (Marin County in the Bay Area), the earliest arriving candidate is Orange-crowned Warbler (OCWA) (that may join winter resident populations that are never common to see during the non-breeding season, yet are observed annually from October-February in small numbers) followed by (in no exact, defined chronological order), Palm Warbler, Wilson's Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, MacGillivray's, and Hermit Warbler -- with some individuals (ala OCWA) for all of these species sometimes remaining in small numbers during many to all non-breeding seasons.

Common Yellowthroat is resident in the Bay Area/Marin Co., with more than one subspecies possibly occurring in the area, depending on the time of the year an individual is observed and where in n. CA/the Bay Area.

In recent years, n. Parula has nested in Marin County, so its arrival is probably occurring within the date range arrival window similar to Yellow through Hermit's (above). American Redstart transients also pass through n. CA regions, though they are more common to see in the autumn (e.g., Outer Point within Point Reyes National Seashore) given they often nest annually in small numbers within the northernmost latitudes of northern CA along the coast.

In addition, Yellow-rumped Warbler (an Audubon's subspecies) nests in Marin County at selected higher altitudes, and it's possible the breeding individuals are migrant arrivals in the spring, with winter residents of the same species leaving Marin County/n. CA for breeding sites at higher latitudes.

Another wood-warbler breeding species, Yellow-breasted Chat typically does not usually overwinter in n. CA, and may arrive later during some spring seasons than the species mentioned in the previous sentence. It is considered extirpated from Marin Co., but it is locally abundant in Sonoma County, especially in spots along the Russian River. I've enjoyed canoe rides down this waterway when repeated Yellow-breasted Chat songs filled the airwaves, one (enjoyable) river bend after the next.


Anonymous said...

When do the Townsend's leave? By April? May?

Johnny S.

Anonymous said...

The web is a small place; i was fooling around on a Friday nite and popped in "warblers" and your blog popped up.

Thanks. It's a good read.

Gustav J., Berlin

Anonymous said...

I saw an Orange-crowned today and heard them singing all over the Berkeley area.


Anonymous said...

Heard Yellow-Rumped Warbler in the Bay Area this weekend. Do they sing before leaving? It was strange to hear them sing when all winter long I heard the chip notes.

Harry S.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I Know you stated they're here and I know I've seen them, but I don't understand what an Orange-crowned Warbler would survive upon through the winter.

Is it true they are fruit eaters during the offseason? Is that how they survive in the cold, clammy n. Cal. winter?

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