First warblers of this migration – Canada Warbler and Blackburnian Warbler

Canada Warbler, necklace and all

Canada Warbler, necklace and all

By Emmett Hume (Own work) [CC BY 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

I’m grateful to the above sources for this pic of what was my first migrant warbler species of this season. I normally don’t see warblers until very late September or the beginning of August, but a very pretty Canada Warbler (Cardellina canadensis) appeared low in the bushes outside the kitchen window up in San Rafael. The bird sat quite still for a full 30 seconds before disappearing. It’s only my second sighting, ever, of this passage migrant. It’s on its way to the northern Andes, no doubt, and this is not one to expect here in our area. The first one popped up on don Martin’s property last year. This species was previously part of the Wilsonia genus but has recently been renamed Cardellina. My bird this time was either an adult female or a juvenile, since the ‘necklace’ on the breast was rather faint. I found that the eye ring and the yellow at the lore were good field marks, as were the white under-tail coverts.

I spent a very pleasant couple of hours at Sue Magree’s beautiful location by the Espino Blanco Reserve, where the most typical birds that don’t appear much in San Antonio are Green Honeycreeper,  Chestnut-headed Oropendola,  Crowned Woodnymph, Stripe-breasted Wren and Olive-backed Euphonia. On this day, a single small swift (probably Vaux’s) also appeared, and so too did my second migrant warbler of the season, a lovely non-breeding male Blackburnian Warbler (Dendroica fusca). We do see this species quite regularly as a winter resident.

The following is the only photo of mine taken locally; unfortunately the big white wing bars are obscured here.

Male Blackburnian warbler in San Antonio

Male Blackburnian warbler in San Antonio

Here’s what this beautiful bird looks like in a great shot taken by William H. Majoros on its breeding grounds in Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada:

Wing bars seem to merge on this male Blackburnian

Wing bars seem to merge on this male Blackburnian Warbler

“7Z1E8688” by William H. Majoros – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons –

Today’s bird is likely to stay here in Costa Rica for the winter after its long hop from, presumably, Canada.

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