Warbler fallout

Not to get too technical, but a fallout — when it comes to migratory birds — occurs when there are no birds one day and birds are thick the next. It’s affected by weather conditions, or perhaps by magic.
A fallout of birds is quickly followed by a fallout of birders.
That’s what all those people with spotting scopes were doing on Park Point over the weekend — they came in rapid response to a windblown warbler fallout in the Duluth area.
A gentleman from Olmsted County posted on the Minnesota Ornithology Union listserv that he had seen 24 species of warblers in 2 1/2 hours at Park Point on Sunday. Not 24 warblers, 24 species. I would consider that an extremely good year. Actually, it would be unprecedented for me.
To see that many kinds of warblers, you have to really be looking, and you have to really know what you’re looking for.
But at a time like this, you might spot a warbler or two without even trying. That happened to me yesterday, when I was walking home from the West Duluth Menard’s. Just outside of the store, I saw a little bird flitting along the ground. I knew right away it was a warbler, and I also knew that I didn’t know what kind of warbler it was. But I got a real good look. Not all that many warblers have yellow breasts with black streaks. The gray upper parts and the white splotches over the eyes also were “diagnostic,” as the birders say. When I looked it up at home, I was certain I’d seen a magnolia warbler — a “lifer” for me.
Over near Holyoke, Minn., Michelle Weegman and her husband have been seeing American redstarts, which are lifers for them. Here are Michelle’s pictures, first of a male and then of a female:

“We had several pairs of American redstart on our dock between dipping into the lake and for flying bugs,” Michelle writes. “They were so friendly landing on my husband’s fishing reel while he was fishing and sitting near our feet.”

Here’s another bird Michelle spotted recently:

Michelle isn’t sure what it is, and I’m not either, but I’m thinking eastern towhee.

Your bird pictures and stories cheerfully received at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

11 thoughts on “Warbler fallout

  1. I also saw an american redstart today – first for me. Have had hummers and baltimore orioles. Also male and female redbreasted grosbeaks.

  2. I spotted a Canada warbler & watched it for a long time. I had to go to my bird book to identify it. This bird was a first for me. I have counted 8 different types of warblers so far this spring. Huge flocks of yellow-rumped warblers.

  3. I happen to be visiting Duluth from out of town, and got to experience the warbler fallout myself on Tuesday despite the downpour. It’s very cool to spot a black-throated green warbler on the side of the road without binoculars. We saw many other warblers, a least flycatcher, and a ridiculous number of chipping sparrows!

    BTW, yes, those pics do show eastern towhees (female and male).

  4. The bottom 2 pictures are 2 different birds. The top is the female Eastern Towhee and the bottom is the male.

    24 different Warblers in one day is really really cool. When I lived in NJ reports of that many were common but the best I would do is 5 or 6. (I worked nights so I wasn’t able to look for birds until the mid afternoon.) In MN, I’ve seen over 30 birds in one place but never more than a few Warblers

  5. Thanks to your article this week, I was surprised to see a Redstart in my yard. The Peterson field guide and your pictures confirmed my identification.

    • Woo-hoo! So glad to hear that.
      I had a black-and-white warbler exploring my apple tree when I came home from work yesterday. I saw another magnolia warbler, a warbler I couldn’t identify and probably a yellow-rumped warbler on my neighborhood walk. I imagine with the change in weather they’ll disperse somewhat.

  6. I spotted a couplke of CAPE MAY WARBLERS the past couple of days. They have been coming to my feeders. I would like to keep them coming back. Would appreciate any adfvice.

  7. Just thought I’d throw my 2 cents in: had a Blackburnian Warbler working the ground near the feeders this morning (Memorial Day). He threw us for a bit of a loop with his orangish face and breast, because for the first time ever, after years of putting jelly and oranges out, we had orioles here at our feeders on the same morning (we live on lower Woodland near UMD). Patience rewarded!

  8. Pingback: Wandering warblers by the waves - Best North Shore - Best North Shore

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