Nature Journal, October 07, 2020
I have never been able to identify this little bird to my satisfaction. I think it is a warbler. But, let me tell my story.
In 2006, my family decided to go on a cruise up the east coast. We had never been on a cruise and wanted to know what the hub-bub was about. Nova Scotia was our chosen destination. Being on the Atlantic Ocean on a enormous ship was a novel experience.
After arriving in Nova Scotia we booked a trip on a whale watch. We didn’t see one whale. The boat passengers were not happy. And the whale watch operators made sure to end the trip at their little gift shop on the pier. I don’t think any of us disappointed “didn’t see one whale” watchers bought anything.
As the trip was not my most enjoyable, I spent much of my time on the top deck around the pool. On the deck chair next to me this little bird perched on the chair. It was so friendly toward me. It cheered me right up.
But, I never have been able to identify it. Maybe you can help.
We were far out in the Atlantic Ocean somewhere between the coast of Maine and Nova Scotia. The date was August 22, 2006.
I notice the gray head, white eye ring, orange blush of color along the sides, yellow bar on wings, and the yellow under the tail. Was it on migration or just on a daytrip? (See also bird migration routes.)
My guesses have narrowed it down to a warbler. Because of the white eye ring and blushes of yellow on its sides, I have thought it was a Nashville Warbler or a Virginia’s Warbler. The Virginia’s would be quite a bit out of range. (yellow warbler birds identification photo gallery)
Mystery Bird: Could it be from Europe?
Does anyone has any idea who this little bird who saved my trip for me, is? You would help me solve a old mystery. Old World Warblers on Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (rspb.org)
Birds by Color: Yellow Warblers
Looks like an American Redstart: https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/amered/cur/introduction
Hi Brigette – I think you’re right, female Redstart. Thank you.
I’m leaning towards Nashville warbler. They are common enough in that vicinity,and it’s not unusual for a lot of migrants to move over water. It does look close to a first year bird.
Thank you Kirk! I thought it maybe a young bird. I’m going with Nashville Warbler.
Hi I’m new here. I’m really enjoying your blog! My guess is a female American Redstart but I’m on the west coast and have never actually seen one so I probably got it wrong. I hope you figure out what it is! At least it was a cute pretty little bird!
Hi, Sonya! Welcome. Kirk (another reader) thinks it maybe be a Nashville warbler. But, your guess of a female Redstart – I think is pretty darn close. Maybe it is a warbler mashup of Nashville and Redstart (both warblers). Thanks for joining in.
I guess that yellow on the secondaries threw me off. That’s a difficult distinction! Most of the warblers I’ve encountered out here are pretty easy to distinguish so I don’t have a lot of experience with the hard ones!
Thanks, Sonya. If the readers of this blog can’t figure it out, I guess it will remain a mystery.
Sonya – your knowledge has been very helpful. Thank you.
Donna, Enjoyed the read. Me? No help at all with birds, though my Sibley guide to US butterflies remains firmly on the bookshelf, dust gathering.
Hi, Jeff – Thanks for the comments, though. Nice to hear from you. Let’s see what others guess.