Thursday, April 10, 2014

The Worm-eating Warbler Greets the Beef-eating Woman

The Worm-eating Warbler has been one of my most sought-after spring migrants.  I’ve spent many a spring evening studying field guides, fascinated by the feathered costume of this plain-bodied, short-tailed warbler with such a uniquely striped head! I’ve kept the Worm-eating Warbler on my hopeful list for each High Island springtime “fallout” trip.  But each spring the Worm-eating has evaded my binocular view.

Last spring’s trip to High Island brought an unknown woman walking up to me as I quietly birded an active fallout (alongside many other unknown birders).  For some reason (perhaps my hat!) the unknown woman picked me out to do what many of us birders do:  share her excitement over a potential sighting.  She approached me and quietly but enthusiastically whispered, “I think I’ve spotted a Worm-eating Warbler!” 

Well, my introverted nature was pushed aside by my enthusiasm for this long awaited new lifer.  So I smiled and welcomed her communication, asked if she’d show me where, and happily followed her to the close-by area.  After a bit of searching, we reacquired her sighting.  My binoculars’ view helped her identify the Swainson’s Warbler as her discovery.  A really nice sighting to share, but not my so hoped for Worm-eating Warbler. 

My hopes were dashed as hopes frequently are.  Regardless, I thanked her and showed honest enthusiasm over her find. Then I did what I always do:  reverted into my introverted distancing.

I’m not sure why I’ve so wanted to add the Worm-eating Warbler to my life list.  Goodness knows my list has a LOT of holes in it.  Maybe it’s because of this warbler’s blatant openness to being a carnivore, with a particular fondness for worms.  This warbler’s epicurean identity makes me more comfortable sharing my particular love for a good prime rib dinner.  I can live without pork (if I had to), but don’t take away my beef and chicken!

And so yesterday found me enjoying a delightful daytrip to the west end of Galveston Island.  With only slight north winds, I was not expecting great fallout conditions.  But springtime birding in Galveston is always great fun for no other reason than to see the locals dressed up in their best Easter Sunday breeding plumages.

Some 16 GBs of photos are the results of a perfect day of driving about and birding the wetlands and mottes of west Galveston.  A good bit of my time over the next few days will be devoted to the digital development of my extravagant use of electrons. But one set of photos couldn’t wait to be developed. 

My long sought after Worm-eating Warbler dropped in to greet me while I was birding the nature preserve at Lafitte’s Cove!  Happy dance!

And so this evening I’ll be celebrating my sighting of this lovely feathered carnivore, while I'm enjoying dinner out with a friend, to our favorite local spot for prime rib!


  1. I really like these pictures. This little one is impressive. I missed seeing you when you were at Retama last month. Hopefully all is well at this holy time of year.



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