Found him! Birdwatchers from across the United States studied the elusive golden-winged warbler as part of the 12th Annual Adirondack Birding Celebration June 6 at an Essex thicket. The golden-winged warbler is a “species of special concern,” said trip leader Brian McAllister. Populations have declined precipitously during the past 45 years due to a loss of breeding habitat and the expansion of the blue-winged warbler into the former’s range. (Denpubs.com)
I was meandering joyfully if absentmindedly along Lake Shore Road recently when I came upon a half dozen vehicles tucked into the tall grass at the intersection of Lake Shore and Clark Roads. I slowed. As I idled forward I passed at least another half dozen cars and then a “flock” of birders…
Actually, at first I didn’t know they were birders. I asked. They laughed. Apparently everyone who passed was asking them the same question.
“We’re birdwatchers,” one man explained.
“We’re looking at a golden-winged warbler,” a woman added. Or maybe she said, “We’re looking for golden-winged warblers.”
“Neat,” I said and pulled out my smartphone to document the occasion. Needless to say, I snapped a photo of the golden-winged warbler watchers and not the birds themselves.
At the time I was pretty sure that the crowd of binocular wielding birdwatchers were spying on one or more golden-winged warblers in a thicket near Webb Royce Swamp. But when I mentioned it to John Davis, intrepid explorer of wild places and critters, he was surprised. Really surprised.
“You mean they actually saw a golden-winged warbler?” He was excited if slightly incredulous.
“I think so,” I offered, suddenly uncertain.
“They weren’t just looking for it?”
Hmmm… Not such a subtle distinction, but suddenly I wasn’t 100% certain what I’d been told.
So I checked my phone to see if I could find any indication from the photo whether or not the birdwatchers were seeking or celebrating. No photo. I looked again. I know I took the photo, maybe even two photos. But I must have inadvertently deleted the evidence. Or, perhaps the elusive golden-winged warbler is behind this mystery!
Have you witnessed a golden-winged warbler in the Adirondacks’ Champlain Valley?