PART II-THE HOODED WARBLERS
I was in my truck supposedly heading back home. -(I say supposedly, because I rarely make it home on my first attempt. I usually have one of those imaginary light bulbs go off over my head as I suddenly think of another place to look for birds). As I was driving, it occurred to me that I had not made one visit to nearby Hurd Park this year. Three years ago, I had seen my first and only Hooded Warblers there. I wondered if there was any chance that I might see them again in the same area. I felt it was very unlikely, but not impossible.
I was able to locate the same trail that I had walked three years ago. It was a sunny morning, and already nearing 10 am by now. I noticed right away, that the birds seemed to be surprisingly vocal in this area. The woodpeckers and Pewee were the loudest, but I was tuning in to the what sounded like some sort of Warbler in the distance. I came to a small open area along the wooded path. I heard the sound the warbler again. I was a bit excited, because I knew i was not one of the more common warbler songs that I was familiar with. I caught a glimpse of a small bird landing on the outer limb of a tree. Just as I was getting ready to get a look at the bird, an older gentleman with a barking dog approached me. We chatted a bit about his dog which had gray hairs but was only a puppy. So I lost the opportunity to see this bird for the moment. As I walked further along the path, I heard the same warbler song -only now, it was coming from 3 different locations at the same time!
It was on my way back, that I got a great look at a beautiful male Hooded Warbler. The male is easy to identify, because no other warbler has a completely black hooded appearance. After it flew off, I had a look at a second male Hooded Warbler. Although I hadn't actually seen the warblers singing, I was sure it must have been the Hooded Warblers. I tried to get pictures or film one, but it they always moved before I could snap a picture. I decided to record the singing on my camera with the built in microphone before returning home.
When I returned home, I reported my findings to an open birding discussion line we have in Connecticut. I described what I had seen, and mentioned how I had heard 3 of them singing. Shortly after I sent my report in, I felt an unsettling feeling came over me.-What if the warblers I heard singing weren't the Hoodeds? What if they were another species that I just hadn't seen?-It wouldn't be the first time I made a mistake in identifying something because I jumped to conclusions. I decided to check out the audio that I recorded and see if I could confirm the identity of the singer(s).
The audio turned out to be pretty good. The song was similar to a Hooded Warbler recording that I compared it to---but it wasn't an exact match. I decided to send the audio clip out to a couple of birders including Vern from Big Spring Birds. Between Vern's birding contacts and mine, I was able to get a definitive response. The audio was indeed, that of a Hooded Warbler. It was however, one of it's alternate songs. All was well again. Thanks to Vern and Paul C. for helping me out! Unfortunately, I couldn't figure how to upload an audio clip to blogger. Overall, it was an interesting learning experience for me.