Date: 5/14/19 10:05 am
From: Ian Gardner <gardnie07...>
Subject: Warblers @ Harrisburg former state hospital - Dauphin County
Great morning for warblers at the Harrisburg former state hospital. The
last few rain-soaked days probably had the migrants piling up and they're
now moving north again. I primarily birded the natural area hollow and
along the adjacent greenbelt trail. Once I could see the Norway spruces at
the base of the hollow, the songs of multiple warbler species started
mixing together and providing a difficult soundscape to navigate. I started
with the closest songs and pulled out several Cape May and a few
Bay-breasted Warblers all singing high-pitched songs from high in the
spruces. Cape May singing repeated single notes and Bay-breasted adding one
for its song of "tee-see tee-see tee-see". American Redstarts and Northern
Parulas sang multiple songs from the hardwood trees behind the spruces.
I've been noticing Parulas singing their alternate "black-throated
green-esque" song a lot more this year than I remember in the past. Two
songs escaped me for a few minutes as I shifted my focus from hearing to
seeing these minuscule and fidgety migrants. A female Black-throated Blue
Warbler was bouncing around the low canopy above the stream with a male
Wilson's Warbler. Once I saw him sing, his voice finally fit into place.
But one more was escaping me. I knew where it was singing from, but
couldn't get it to come into the open. Eventually it dawned on me, Canada
Warbler! I could never find a mnemonic phrase that fit its dense bouncing
song, but I always remember it contains a few notes of "swee-ditchety". I
played the song to myself from my phone to confirm it and felt satisfied to
have a song that I need to re-familiarize myself with. Now that I was
confident I picked out all the songs around spruces I walked into the
hollow and down the shaded trail. Ovenbird and Tennessee Warbler stood out
along with a couple Red-eyed Vireos and constant Wood Thrushes. A male and
female pair of Common Yellowthroats popped up from the streambed. A
Northern Waterthrush had been occupying that space for the last week or
two, but not today. I made it to the circular spring basin at the end of
the trail and turned around. A male Black-throated Blue Warbler voiced its
lazy song once before I left the hollow. A quick loop around the top of the
hospital complex only added Yellow Warbler and my checklist ended. There is
so much more habitat left to explore but I didn't have time today.
Hopefully someone else makes the trip.

Warbler species:
1 Ovenbird
4 Tennessee Warbler
2 Common Yellowthroat
5 American Redstart
6 Cape May Warbler
3 Northern Parula
3 Bay-breasted Warbler
1 Yellow Warbler
2 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Canada Warbler
1 Wilson's Warbler

eBird Checklist: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S56263861

Ian Gardner
Harrisburg, PA
 
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