Today, I had another migratory warbler sighting: one MacGillivray’s warbler, Geothlypis tolmiei. A quick, little guy scooted through my backyard while I was filling up the birdbath. He checked out a few of the shrubs and was gone. He was too quick to allow for a photograph, so I am attaching a picture of one that I took last May at Vedauwoo east of town.
This is the best photo of this species that I have in my collection because these guys often shyly hide in the underbrush and refuse to have their portraits taken! The website Birds of the Rocky Mountains states, “Keeping to the densest and most impenetrable shrubs in the Rockies, the MacGillivray’s Warbler is a very difficult bird to observe. To get a clear view you must often crouch down, peer deep into dark bushes and strain your neck in rapid response to the bird’s faintly perceptible actions. A hard-earned glimpse of this bird is often satisfying, however, because the male MacGillivray’s Warbler is certainly one of the most beautiful warblers in the Rockies.”
This is not a bird that I have seen very often, though they can be at least occasionally found in the area from late-May through this time of year. They are quite recognizable with their yellow bellies, green backs and wings, and grey hoods, as well as their distinct black eye stripe cutting through their white eye ring. Their coloring is similar to the mourning warbler, Geothlypis philadelphia, of eastern North America. William MacGillivray, by the way, was a Scottish naturalist (an Aberdeen man!) and friend of John James Audubon, who gave this bird its common name.