What the heck is this? [post closed]

Warblers make my head hurt!


The tail is tricky to see, but it goes from a bright yellow UTC to a black block then white ends (just like a Yellow-rumped).  I believe I saw it pumping its tail a fair bit too (like a Palmie).  It was in a pine-tree the whole time.

Oh, it actually is a Palmie!  It just looked “off” to me, but here’s one from Google Images and it’s bang on.  I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Palmie at NCBGs, maybe that’s what threw me (and it being up a tree and not on the ground).


10 responses to “What the heck is this? [post closed]

  1. After checking my Peterson Field Guide for Warblers for the UTC, the one that matches this bird is the Palm Warbler….and it does pump its tail….also, the face pattern matches your bird….so my vote is for the Palm.

  2. Thanks Jo for your input. 🙂

  3. One of the best ID marks for Warblers is their tail pattern….my first thought was a Magnolia, but nothing else matched….glad I could help.

  4. Talking of tail patterns (and IDing small yellow birds), I again saw a bird with a “swallow tail” that otherwise looked like an Am Redstart. I eventually got a good enough look at it to see that it was simply that species, but (presumably) was missing one or two central tail feathers. This also affected the colours being shown so it didn’t look anything like the unmistakable ARS. Like Jenn’s “not quite right” Cardinal, I guess sometimes birds don’t come off the production-line exactly as the illustrations show them and it’s all too easy to see them as some exciting new species. Imagine a Sibley’s for people? I’m sure JFK and I (for example) would share very few external characteristics so anyone seeing us in a tree would think we’re completely different species!

    • Although I understand your point, I tend to believe politicians of all parties are a different species than the rest of us. Feeling a little cynical this season.

  5. I’ve noticed with Palmies that those undertail coverts tend to give them away, even when I initially think them something else (but that’s just in my experience). I guess they are officially here for the season across the state. 🙂
    Great insight on the variation between birds, DaLo. With the migratory birds in Florida, and some of them between plumage phases (?), it is definitely something I’ll be keeping in mind (on, say, buntings and such, especially). 😉

  6. What might have added to the confusion is that this looks like a Western Palm Warbler. Sibley says that the females only have yellow on their tails and nowhere else. Am i right this was taken in North Carolina? Would have fooled me too.

  7. This beautiful shot definitely looks like a Palm Warbler to me. As far as the tail pumping, the Palm is always described that way, but last spring I noticed that the Yellow-rumped were also pumping their tails quite a bit. They were both hanging out in the same grove of trees making the ID’s more challenging until the photos were checked out.

  8. I think we all have to remember that our “guide” books are just that…guides….sometimes the drawings and/or the text leave us scratching our heads. Birds don’t always look like the illustrations as far as color is concerned and this can really throw us off. Also, there have been times when I wished the author had pointed out this or that ID feature. The Sibley’s guide that I carry with me, for instance, didn’t note that the Am. Pipet pumped its tail….I found that out by going online…..that information, however, is in his big guide that covers all the birds, but it’s one that I leave at home. He is in the process of revising his guide books, by the way, but that won’t be completed for at least a few more year.
    Cooper: DaLo’s picture was taken in Florida….not No. Carolina.

  9. Thanks everyone for your valued input. I’m going to call this one ‘done’.