[Tweeters] Discovery Park- Palm Warbler

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Mon Sep 29 15:17:50 PDT 2014

Hello Tweeters,

I was birding today at Discovery Park, looking for Western Sandpipers. I did it see any shorebirds; however, I saw something much more exciting.

We were walking out at West Point, and I saw my FOF Mew Gulls, Red-breasted Mergansers and Golden-crowned Sparrows (On the beach, over the water, and in the rocks and brush around the lighthouse, respectively), and White-crowned and Savannah Sparrows.

When we reached the row of tall trees out at the point, I remarked to my father, "You know, this is the kind of place where rare birds show up. Out on a point, and isolated trees. They would show up right in here." With this thought in mind, I started to look in the leaves.

In a small pine tree next to the house, a flicker was sheltered from the wind and rain. It flew away, and we walked out past the pine.

A few minutes later, at 2:20 PM I walked back toward the pine, looking for a sparrow. I saw the sparrow pop up in the rocks, and then a small bird appeared in the pine. I examined the small bird. Warbler-sized, brownish... Pumping tail!?!? This bird was a Palm Warbler.

My heart started to pound. I had seen the wintering Palm Warbler at the UW dormitories last winter, and I knew how rare it was in the Seattle area. I fumbled for my camera.

Right as I started to record, I heard a sharp 'chip!' Call note that matched the Palm Warbler's call as I had heard it after countless times looking it up on Xeno-Canto, dreaming of the day I would find one. I saw the bird clearly then, and saw the paler throat that I knew was a feature of a Palm Warbler.

After that, I lost it, and I think it flew over into the stand of wind-beaten willows northeast of the lighthouse. When I went over there, I found a Myrtle Yellow-rumped Warbler and a sparrow.

Field marks I observed: Warbler-sized shape, brownish-buff color overall, pale throat patch, constantly pumping tail. I did not see the yellow undertail; the bird was in the shade. I heard a 'chip!' note that did not have the buzzy, nasal sound of the Myrtle Warbler. The bird's posture as it moved along the branch was more horizontal than vertical, rather than the more vertical stance of the nearby Myrtle as it called and moved through the willow stand.

Here are the directions: Drive
out to the lighthouse, park next to the beach, and walk into the fenced area. The entrance is at the base of the tall tree row, at the SE corner. The bird was originally seen in the small pine next to the north face of the lighthouse keeper's house.

Thanks, Joshua Glant

Mercer Island, WA

Josh.n.glant at gmail.com

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