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The Binocular Advisornone

This Morning Outside

by Diane Porter

August 23, 2010
At Birdwatching Dot Com
Fairfield, Iowa

The beginning of fall warbler migration makes me grateful that I fell into bird watching. I love to get to glimpse gems like this chestnut-sided warbler, in its decidedly-not-chestnut-sided plumage.

Chestnut-sided Warbler
Photo copyright 2010 Michael and Diane Porter

The chestnut-sided warbler is one of the six wood warbler species who molt into an entirely different appearance for spring and for fall. It's more dramatically colored in spring, but I love the chartreuse top of the head in fall. I can't think of any other bird with that color.

This bird is probably a female, and one hatched just this year, because it doesn't have any chestnut on its flanks or sides, and the back is almost completely unstreaked.

The warblers aren't singing now, like they do in spring, and that makes identifying them more challenging. But you know? Most of them are where I live, in southeast Iowa, only a few weeks in spring and fall, on their way to and from their nesting grounds. So when they're around, I want to take advantage of the opportunity to enjoy them. And sometimes get lucky enough to get a picture, like this morning's chestnut-sided warbler.

—Diane Porter

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