Yellow-throated Warbler, Maintenance Meadow

Yellow-throated Warbler is one of the six hardest-to-find warblers about which I wrote in the appendix to my book. Prior to today I had had it only twice, in late April 2012 and 2014. I, along with many others, should have had it in 2015 also, but the finders sent the alert much too late.

Today’s original finder, Kathleen Toomey — one of Brooklyn’s top birders — did not make this mistake. She reported it quickly using my #birdcp Twitter alert system, something for which she had signed up just a few days before.

I had just finished a gym workout and was at home when her 3:16 p.m. alert chimed in. I quickly changed clothes and started running. Within ten minutes I arrived at the source of the Gill and saw Kathleen and others. She said that the bird seemed to have flown north and that she was no longer seeing it.

I started searching Tupelo Meadow, an excellent place for a warbler to find food, with many tall trees starting to leaf out and some blooming. Then I circled back around Azalea Pond. No bird.

After nearly an hour of re-checking these areas, I was ready to head home. But first I wanted to try the Maintenance Meadow, which has some large trees filled with white blossoms — always attractive for warblers.

I saw a small bird with a lot of white on it swoop down from high up in the trees and land near me just a foot or two off the ground. I turned, focused, and got a brief but clear view of the bird’s grey back and crown, dark cheek, and bright yellow breast. I had re-found the Yellow-throated Warbler.

It then flew east and landed in a tree with white blooms. I knew that over twenty birders were looking for it, so I took the opportunity to send out my own Twitter alert to draw them over. When I looked up again I was no longer seeing it. This was at 4:36 p.m.

When the group arrived I passed on the information and lingered for another fifteen minutes before heading home.

It was not reported again until 6:09, at the same location, where it stayed for perhaps five minutes before flying further east and out of sight.