Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hooded Warbler in Herrontown Wood

This from a friend on May 26th, two days ago:

"I heard from Tyler Christensen (as I'd suspected a year or two ago) that he'd seen a Hooded Warbler in Herrontown Woods so I stopped by late today. It was singing up a storm and I got good looks at a very cool, mostly yellow warbler with a black "hood." It was singing two different songs, the alternate form supposedly is the "breeding" song which I hear later in the season at Baldpate Mtn, a "hot spot" for Hoodeds. I assume at least one or two pairs breed at the Institute Woods but none reported on eBird for 2 weeks. I consider myself lucky if I find even one in the Sourlands, a good place for them. I think the "Herrontown Hooded" is a testament to deer management and return of the understory. While not rare, they're not common either and Cornell was funding studies monitoring this species. Hoodeds nest low in bushes 3-6 ft off ground (dogs should not go off trail.)
(Correction: Hooded's are state-listed as a "Species of Concern" at the breeding level.)
I saw it along the uppér part of the trail (red one?) after passing the cottage and little barn (corn crib?) on my right. It was singing and looping around the rocks at the top between the gas pipeline, the rediscovered "cliff", and the stream going through the boulder field.
Also had Scarlet Tanager, 3 Veery, Ovenbird, 4 Wood thrush, Pileated, and 2 Common Yellowthroat Warbler."

Here is more info about the species, including a description of its preferred habitat: "Reaches highest densities in large tracts of mature, uninterrupted, deciduous forest with a dense shrub layer and scant ground cover." A sample of its call can be found here.

It's because of the Veblens' initial donation of Herrontown Woods, and the subsequent efforts of local and regional land trusts, with additional funding from the town and county, that species like this can be heard in the deep forest of Princeton Ridge East.

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