This cute warbler usually inhabits marshy areas, often in and around reeds or other vegetative tangles. This is a photo of a male. The female’s colors are subdued. They skulk around in dense vegetation making them hard to see, but every once in awhile one will appear for a photo. In the spring they can more easily be found by their song which sounds like whichety-whichety-whichety and is quite a racket for a tiny bird. In the northern summer, this species can be found across the entire United States and the southern half of Canada.
Floy pretty much described this bird in her post below. We see it show up in the spring in the San Francisco Bay Area, usually, but not always in riparian areas. It is a common summer bird in the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
This perky sparrow has an extensive geographic distribution occurring from Southern Mexico to the southern-most tip of South America. We encountered a small group of them at the entrance to Los Quetzales National Park, Costa Rica which is located near Cerro de la Muerte, the mountain of death, on the Pan American Highway. Once you drive this stretch of road the origin of “mountain of death” becomes apparent. These sparrows were seen around 9,000-10,000 above sea level.. It was a cold, blustery, gray day when I photographed these birds and I wished there was more light to work with, but their beauty stands out even so.
We ran into our first Silver-throated Tanager by accident when we saw something yellow flitting around in a nearby tree. We were amazed at its beauty. It’s namesake isn’t always apparent, the bright yellow head and the greenish wings with black lines catches the eye long before the silver throat.
After awhile you don’t think much about the birds that occur where you live. This species is a desired bird to see by birders from all over the world. It only occurs over a small area of California. Whenever I run into someone who has come a long distance and is excited about seeing the Yellow-billed Magpie, it amazes me because they are just another local bird for me. I guess the same occurs when I go bananas over seeing a Dickcissel in Texas or a Fish Crow in Florida. One man’s rarity is another’s common bird.
Its cousin, the Black-billed Magpie has a much wider distribution over several lower states in the west, Canada and up into Alaska.