Friday, November 12, 2010

Townsend's Warbler, a rare visitor to New Hampshire

I joined the throng of birders traveling to River Road in Walpole, NH, to see the female Townsend's Warbler, first reported by Ken Klapper on the NH Bird List several days ago. It's a fickle bird  - it took me three trips to see it. The first two times I came either just after the bird had left or I left just before the bird appeared. You had to be very patient. But the sky was blue, the sun was shining, and the other birders there provided good company. 

Like all warblers it's a fast moving bird and hard to keep track of in the brushy thicket. So I was glad it stayed in one place for several seconds allowing me to get some photos. The first image is a "Find Waldo" overview. I drew a circle around the bird.

Here is a close-up of the first image

I was unfamiliar with this warbler. So I checked it on the Birds of North America Site and found out it wasn't only very late in its migration to Central America, but it shouldn't even be here!

To quote: A colorful, distinctive wood-warbler that breeds among the treetops of mature fir forests in the Pacific Northwest, Townsend’s Warbler also nests in montane spruce-fir (Picea-Abies) forests in Idaho, Montana, and northwest Wyoming, and in boreal forests in Alaska and the Yukon Territory. In September, it begins its southward migration to California and the highlands of Mexico and Central America, where it is the most common of all species (including residents) in some locales." 

In NH it's been recorded, according to eBird, only three times, once in 1982, once in 2005 and then the current one. It's doubtful that the bird will ever make it to its wintering grounds.

Thank you for stopping by. Please leave a comment.


  1. Always exciting to see a rare, lifer bird. Congrats!

  2. Oh my goodness!!! I "almost" saw a Townsend's three times. Each time he had come or gone before I did...yada, yada. Glad your tenacity paid off and you were able to get a photo too! Congrats!

  3. Nice get, Hilke! You must have been just sqealing with glee to seeeeeee such a lover-leeeeeeeee bird so weeeeeeeee.

    That's enough, Robin. Sit down now.

  4. Nice looks! This is not one I've seen yet. Always special to view a new bird!

  5. I also have not seen this one either, wonderful find and photos!


  6. Thank you Dawn, Gary, Andy, Kelly, Vickie and Dan for your kind comments. The only thing that makes me sad about this sighting is that the bird is doomed; it will not make it to its home base.

  7. That is a great bird to catch up with and even better to get some excellent shots. I have see Townsend's in Ontario (about the same time of year). Its interesting it would get so of course, I expect it would need to cross the Rockies.

  8. Congrats for this nice sighting! Well done Hilke!

  9. Hello, I'm new to your pages which I learned about through Gary and Boomers blog. Your site looks fantastic and I'm glad to be aboard!


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