03 February 2009

Black-throated Gray Lifer

Photo by John Schwarz, taken January 24, 2009

On Saturday January 17 a Black-throated Gray Warbler was found at the Environmental Sensitive Area on NW 21st AVE, south of Commercial, in Ft Lauderdale. On January 21st I met Andy there to try and snag this lifer in the afternoon but it was a no show. We did however see a beautiful Prairie Warbler and picked up a new exotic species, Blue-crowned Parakeet. After a couple of weeks of people successfully finding this bird in the morning I knew that the next available date I would need to make a trip down there.

Arriving at 8AM at the spot I was disappointed to find the area oddly quiet. I scanned back and forth against the fence and strained to listen for bird chips through the morning rush hour traffic. Finally I found a little mixed flock on the northeast corner but it contained a single Blue-headed Vireo and some Palm and Yellow-rumped Warblers. I patiently went back to the central area where the Black-throated Gray is known to frequent. I also knew that it was likely to be seen with a Northern Parula. At 8:45AM a large mixed flock came into the trees right against the central eastern part of the area. The Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers were chasing Palm Warblers left and right. A steady stream of small passerines made their way through the dense foliage. My interest was summoned when I finally managed to find a lone Prairie Warbler mixed in. But still no Parula or Black-throated Gray.

As if on cue in my waning defeat the Northern Parula flew right to the closest tree. I watched as it erratically hopped about but the Black-throated Gray still didn't make an appearance and just like that the flock was on the move. They were heading towards the northeast corner and I felt my lifer opportunity slipping. So I jogged ahead and gave my best pishing efforts a go. It worked! The Northern Parula came over and danced about and a White-eyed Vireo showed up out of the mix. I was losing the major part of the flock at this point and they were heading towards the middle of the fenced in preserve. Not good!

The Parula took flight towards a far off oak tree. I found it high up in the branches in a little bit of a dark spot. It took flight again but once out of my binocular field view another bird was left directly in the space it occupied, the Black-throated Gray Warbler! The bird moved in a circle and was gone but I definitely got my look and happily left the side of the road.


Mike said...


dAwN said...

Cool..Glad you saw your birdie...I would love to see that as well!