Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Seven Species of High Sierra Mountain Wood-Warblers?


Yes, the headline query is correct.

The question was prompted by Terese Frederick, one of my former students, who asked me recently if ".........there's more wood-warbler species nesting in the CA Sierra Nevada mountains (High Sierra Mountain Range), including the Yuba Pass area, Sierra County, 30 miles southwest of Truckee) than on the 'flats,' such as counties within the Bay Area?"

The brief answer* is that there's often MORE species annually nesting in the Bay Area than the nearby mountains 130-200 miles east of the Bay Area -- but that's only if you include the coastal counties of Marin and Sonoma.

These two counties constitute two of the Bay Area counties among nine (SF, San Mateo, Alameda, Contra Costa, Solano, Napa, Santa Clara)

In total, among the nine Bay Area counties, the typical RELIABLE annual nesting wood-warbler species include:
- YELLOW-RUMPED (one of the four Audubon's subspecies)

"See, that's nine," I told Terese, and adding: "That's nine species in the Bay Area and ONLY seven species of nesting wood-warbler species during most breeding seasons in mountainous regions of the Sierras:

the above species minus the YELLOW-BREASTED CHAT and COMMON YELLOWTHROAT."

HOWEVER, in some mountainous areas within the Sierras, NASHVILLE WARBLER nests.

So, we have eight in some areas of the Sierras, I told Terese.

In sum:

Nine Bay Area wood-warbler nesting species vs. eight Sierran species.

The Bay Area wins over the Sierras by a mere one species.

Now, do you folks reading this entry KNOW HOW MANY wood-warbler species nest in the county within which you live?

Feel free to share your total with me as a "comment," below (by clicking on the comment text and entering your thoughts to me). (Please also feel free to vote at the quiz on the right.)

(* = More complex, it appears that N. PARULA may nest occasionally to regularly in Marin Co.
That makes 10 species for the greater Bay Area as nesting wood-warblers.)


Anonymous said...

I heard N. Parula in FL during the winter months. Why is that?

Pearle Justin, Boca Raton

Anonymous said...

Yes, I saw Nashville in the Sierras last weekend. Thanks for your blog.

Emmett P., Grass Valley, Cal.

Anonymous said...

I still say there's fewer warblers in general than 20 years ago when i watched them parade through during the spring.

But what do I know? I'm not researching them.

Yet please tell me, Mr. Warbler Guru, what constitutes a Vagrant vs. Accidental vs. a Rare warbler observation?

How about Vagrant vs. Casual Visitor, too?

Anonymous said...

I'd like to say I've seen all the warblers that you've seen. Where are some good spots to see them in the Sierras?

Jonas J.

Anonymous said...

I saw 6 species of warblers around the Tahoe area last week while backpacking.

Where do I get a good guide to finding out how to hear them better to ID them by ear?