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Friday, January 19, 2007

More Black-throated Gray Warbler Searching Tips

Well- today at least 10-15 people braved the cold winds to look for the Black-throated Gray Warbler, and nearly all (if not all) were rewarded with at least decent looks. I have embedded an updated map showing the locations of all sightings to date. Also, for the entire morning a Merlin was perched almost directly over the south feeder, which worried us greatly because the slow-flying warbler was often crossing the parking lot by itself, an obvious target. By noon the Merlin had left, fortunately without any paruline meals.

As you see in the map, the bird expanded its known home range a bit today, especially on the south end- where it was seen at least 3 times down in the cattails a couple hundred feet north of Leonard St. It also traveled north of the south feeder a hundred feet or so, which it hadn't previously done. Lastly, several of us saw the bird working the "backyard" behind the yellow building, especially along the fence covered in vines and the deciduous 20 ft tree adjacent to the south side of the dumpster. Several times the bird foraged on the ground itself.

Again, the bird constantly crossed over the parking lot and the building into a red pine on the northeast side of the structure, particularly in the late afternoon (3-4PM), but it also made regular forays throughout the day to the pines on the west of the building, today including a white pine at the sams spot. The rest of the time, the bird was mixed in with the chickadees or by itself along the river corridor.

Mealworms were laid out for the bird today- in the south (platform) feeder, as well as in 3 holes dug in the snow underneath the bushes near the south feeder. However, it never seemed to find this food. It appears to be subsisting on foliage-gleaned insects, but seems especially successful on the old white pine and red pine cones- where it was seen pulling a large unidentified larva out and beating it to death before consuming it. So, despite the very harsh weather, the bird appears to be holding its own. Several more folks are coming in the morning, so let's hope it continues to survive!

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