All posts by eontbird

Fall Warbler Migration Guide

The following warbler graphs are organized from early season to late season. Note that many species share the same peak dates (mid to late August). All eastern Ontario counties are included in the study area. The study period is from 1990-2017 (I made these outputs in 2017).

Figure 1: Our earliest season warbler, the Yellow Warbler, paired with other abundant, early August species. YEWA, BAWW, AMRE, and CSWA. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario, 1990-2016.

Figure 2: Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart are very similar in frequency (shown), totals, and migration timing. Fall passage in totals, eastern Ontario, 1990-2016.

Figure 3: Cape May and Blackburnian are very similar in frequency, totals (shown), and migration timing. Fall passage in totals, eastern Ontario, 1990-2016.

Figure 4: Golden-winged, Blue-winged, and Brewster’s (hybrid). Not at all typical finds during fall migration! Fall passage in totals, eastern Ontario, 1990-2016.

Figure 5: Mourning Warbler & Canada Warbler. Both are highly sought-after species, and, rightly so! Mourning, in particular, is a prize find. Fall passage in totals, eastern Ontario, 1990-2016.

Figure 6: Ovenbird & Northern Waterthrush; skulkers of the underbrush. Fall passage in totals eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 7: Nashville & Tennessee warblers. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 8: Blackpoll & Bay-breasted warblers. For information on how to separate these two look-a like’s, please see https://eontbird.ca/?p=873. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 9: The Heavyweight Champion of the Warblers, the Connecticut Warbler. The best time to look for this species is from the last few days of August through to the beginning of the second week of September. Very early September, in particular, is prime COWA season. Fall passage in totals, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 10: Northern Parula & Magnolia Warbler. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 11: Black-throated Green and Black-throated Blue Warbler. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 12: Palm Warbler. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 13: Pine Warbler. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 14: Wilson’s Warbler. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 15: Orange-crowned Warbler. A highly sought-after and characteristically late-season migrant. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Figure 16: Yellow-rumped Warbler. Fall passage in frequency, eastern Ontario. 1990-2016.

Western Meadowlark Field Mark Checklist

Western Meadowlark Field Mark Checklist

In Winter (Basic) Plumage

Head Detail

  • Head detail in winter Western Meadowlark (WEME) is key. The lateral crown stripes and post-ocular wedge are typically medium-brown, which contributes to weakened contrast with the adjacent areas of the head. In Eastern Meadowlark (EAME), the lateral crown stripes and post-ocular wedge are quite blackish; this colouration draws forth strong contrast with the adjacent areas of the head.

Body Detail

  • Overall, a basic plumage WEME is washed-out and “sandy” in appearance. The edging to the feather tracts throughout the upperparts is less rufous, as in EAME, and more “sandy” and cold-toned. EAME is notably higher in contrast, with stronger saturation to the plumage, showcasing higher contrast between the various feather tracts (head and body detail) than on WEME.
  • The base colouration to the greater coverts, folded secondaries and tertials is pale and more greyish in WEME, and typically is darker and warmer brown in EAME.
  • The greater coverts and folded secondaries and tertials on a WEME showcase thin, parallel-sided blackish barring on a pale base colour. On these same feather tracks, thick confluent blackish barring occurs on EAME, overtop a darker brown base colouration. The net result is a darker wing fold.
  • The flanks and undertail coverts (UTC) are paler and greyer on WEME and buffier on EAME.
  • WEME are longer winged than EAME.

Tail Detail

  • On WEME, the central tail feathers show free, parallel-sided blackish bars on a pale background. On EAME, the bars widen toward the rachis and become confluent with adjoining bars, along the mid-vein. Thus, the tail feathers appear dark with deep pale notches along the fringes on EAME (Jaramillo and Burke 1999).
  • WEME typically has less white in the tail than on EAME; however, there appears to be some overlap in this feature (Jaramillo and Burke 1999). Look for the amount of dark on R4 (third from the outside) and the outer two rectrices (R5 and R6). WEME tends to have a mostly dark R4 and noticeable dark terminal shaft streaks on R5 and R6 (Jaramillo and Burke 1999).

Photos

Photo: Western Meadowlark in Napanee, Lennox & Addington County. 25 January 2022. Luke Berg.

Photo: Western Meadowlark in Napanee, Lennox & Addington County. 25 January 2022. Luke Berg.

Photo: Western Meadowlark in Napanee, Lennox & Addington County. 25 January 2022. Luke Berg.

Photo: Eastern Meadowlark near Point Petre, Prince Edward County. 25 January 2022. Luke Berg.

Photo: Eastern Meadowlark near Point Petre, Prince Edward County. 25 January 2022. Luke Berg.

Acknowledgements

Thank you to Luke Berg for granting permission to use his photos in this document. Luke photographed both species of meadowlarks within several hours on a sunny day, availing an Apples-to-Apples comparison of features. Thank you to Brandon Holden for all previous discussions on the intricacies and challenges of meadowlark ID.

References

Jaramillo, A., and P. Burke (1999). New World Blackbirds: The Icterids. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA.

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Click here for a PDF copy of the Western Meadowlark Field Mark Checklist web article

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Jon P. Ruddy

eontbird@gmail.com

26 January 2022 

The Field Identification of the “Hooded” Juncos

The Field Identification of the “Hooded” Juncos is officially a work-in-progress. I will cover four subspecies in the document; Slate-colored, Cassiar, Oregon (J. h. montaus as well as J. h. shufeldti) and Pink-sided. I managed to glean all my previous references, as well as gather photos that were previously sent by Ontario birders. This will be self-published and self-edited work, completely open to scrutiny/improvement upon completion. Any additional information/corrections made, will result in an updated PDF. In the meantime, if you have any photos of “hooded” juncos (Cassiar or Oregon…or even a brownish Slate-colored), I’d love to review them and possibly include them in the article! Photos can be sent to eontbird@gmail.com. Please include the date of the observation and the city/town, as well as the county, within Ontario. I think that’s all for now…Good birding.

Oregon Dark-eyed Junco     (Junco hyemalis montanus) and (Junco hyemalis shufeldtiJ. h. montanus and J. h. shufeldti

Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis hyemalis)

Pink-sided Dark-eyed Junco   (Junco hyemalis mearnsi)

Cassiar Dark-eyed Junco     (Junco hyemalis cismonatnus)