It is a great pleasure to present to you a continuing series of guest contributions by Hemant Kishan, former Director of Strategy and Planning, with the General Motors Company. Hemant is also known as Digital Plume Hunter, and is working to document Ohio's Magee Marsh 2012 Spring migrants at the publication time of this post . . .
Warblers at Corkscrew -- Part I
Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary is a productive place to find some key warbler species in Southwest Florida. Breeding species include Common Yellowthroat and Northern Parula; overwintering species include Black and White, Yellow-rumped, Pine, Palm and Ovenbird; while both Waterthrushes are reliable in Spring migration (both Northern and Lousiana).
This article takes a look at the Black and White and Northern Parula warblers.
The black and white warbler is a common overwintering species at Corkscrew. It has striking black and white markings and is hard to confuse with any other bird.
The black-and-white warbler feeds much like a nuthatch -- going up and down the trunks of trees plucking insects along the way. When busy feeding, it can be a confiding bird, often approaching the observer fairly closely.
Its winter range includes Florida, Central America as well as Northern South America. Its breeding range covers most of the Eastern United States and Canada. At Corkscrew in winter, they are easy to see in Winter when the foliage is thin -- they often feed in mixed flocks but seldom flock with others of their kind.
Unlike the stark black and whites of the black-and-white warbler, the Northern Parula (pronounced PAR'you-la) is a colorful Spring/Summer breeder at Corkscrew.
In April, the Northern Parula's are at their peak at Corkscrew -- the males can be heard singing as they establish their breeding territories. Interestingly enough, the Northern Parula breeding population is disjointed -- there is a Southern and Northern range in the US with the latter population using lichen and the former, Spanish Moss, for nesting material.
The best way to find Northern Parulas at Corkscrew is to listen for their song in Spring time. They are fast and energetic feeders and getting a good shot can be a very frustrating experience! However, when that elusive shot finally comes through, you will be rewarded with an image that can only partly capture the spectacular yellow chest, blue/grey hood and an incomplete white eye-ring of this signature warbler at Corkscrew.
Please see Hemant's Finding Vireos at Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary.