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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Pleased to meet you!

Janet noticed this young male Chestnut-sided Warbler (Setophaga pensylvanica) in the Bodega Marine Lab parking lot on 9 June 2015.  Luckily, it was still around on 10 June, so I documented it with a few pictures and an audio recording. 

Although I've photographed several Chestnut-sided Warblers in the fall, I think this is the first time I've seen one on Bodega Head in the spring.

After the rain last night and this morning (!), the warbler spent quite a bit of time preening and trying to dry off.  It alternated preening bouts and feeding bouts, and was very vocal, singing loudly throughout the morning.  (I first heard it while working inside at my desk!)

While feeding, it actively looked for insects among the leaves and branches:

And here's the audio recording.  You might need to turn up your volume.  [If you can't see the audio file below, click on the title of this post above to view the file on the web page.] 

Sometimes this warbler's song is translated as "Pleased, pleased, pleased to meet you!"  Chestnut-sided Warblers have two types of songs: one that sounds like that phrase with an accent on the "you," and another that has an unaccented-ending.  Mostly this bird seemed to be singing the unaccented-ending song, but if you listen closely around 12-13 seconds, you can hear a quiet version of the accented "Pleased to meet you" phrase.

What a treat to hear this handsome warbler on the West Coast! 


Alice Chan said...

Cornell's distribution map on All About Birds doesn't show these guys west of the Rockies at all, but you've seen them in the fall too? How common are other sightings on the west coast? Such a beautiful bird to see and hear! Thanks so much for this post.

John W. Wall said...

Such a cool-looking little guy. Competing with a noisy w-c sparrow in the background.

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Alice!

Yes, I thought about including something about their status here, but I ran out of time last night.

In Sonoma County, Chestnut-sided Warblers are rare fall migrants and accidental spring migrants. As far as I can tell, there are ~55 records for them in the County, but only three of those (now 4!) are from the spring...and of those four, three were singing males. So seeing one during the fall is lucky, but not unexpected. Seeing one in the spring is even luckier, and happens very rarely.

:) Jackie

P.S. Here are pictures of a Chestnut-sided Warbler in September 2012 (note the very different fall plumage):