Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Wilson's Warbler at the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge in Washington State

You go to blog with the picture you have---not the picture you might want or wish to have a later time (extra credit if you recognize the political allusion I just made). I'm home from another epic trip, this time to some cooler climes across the Pacific Northwest. As a bird-watching trip, results were mixed. At any one place I didn't see the twenty or so species I regularly see in my excursions on the Tuolumne River, which at home I attribute to my knowing where specific birds like to hang out. But over the two weeks I added ten birds to my life list, and some of them were quite interesting.

One of our campsites was at Cape Disappointment State Park, and we hit the road headed to Olympic National Park. Almost immediately we passed the signs pointing to the Willapa National Wildlife Refuge and we decided to see what there was to see. The small visitor center includes a unique nature trail that includes nature-related artistic sculptures. It was a nice break. I was watching for birds, noting several Song Sparrows and White-crowned Sparrows, but in the shadows of an alder I caught sight of a yellow bird that I didn't immediately recognize. It was darting through the underbrush so quickly that I only got this single shot. I checked the guidebooks and asked at the visitor center, and we figured out it was a Wilson's Warbler (Cardellina pusilla). These warblers are seen at home (other birders have even seen them on the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail), but it's a bit more difficult because we have to catch them as they pass through on their migration in spring and fall. I have yet to see any back home.

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