Today I found at least one, and very likely two, new species for the study. In any other study this would be cause for celebration. Not so, here.
First, I encountered a trapped bird at the north main entrance. I could tell immediately that it was an Oporornis – now Geothylpis – warbler, and Mourning is the most likely candidate by far. This bird was sprightly and flew strongly as I attempted to steer it away from the NRC. I was unsuccessful as it perched in the trees near the entrance, but at least from that location the bird would be more likely to detect the barrier that the building presents and less likely to build up sufficient speed to do any lasting damage. I ruled it a “trapped” bird for that reason, and I really hope that it’s gone by tomorrow . . .
I couldn’t get close enough to catch it, but it was perched in rather open spots on the ground and in the trees so I fired off some photos. My examination of the photos led me to believe that this bird was actually a pretty darn rare one this far east: MacGillivray’s Warbler. It looks to me to be a AHY female, judging from the whitish throat and the two, broad eye arcs above and below the eyes. I have shared the photos with our state birds record committee coordinator. Until I hear definitively from him, I’m reserving final ID on the bird. I do think it’s MacGillivrays. What do you think?
The eBird distribution above illustrates how unusual an occurrence a MacGillivray’s would be this far east. It’s certainly the first one I’ve seen in Oklahoma, and I think the only one I’ve ever seen east of Las Vegas.
Next, I found a dead bird at the south entrance, and this was the penultimate pinnacle of avian evolution, the Northern Waterthrush. It was an AHY bird with fat = 2, and in truly gorgeous shape before meeting its untimely demise. This is the 50th species I’ve found dead at the NRC, and the 186th casualty.