Fall warblers are infamous for plumages that greatly differ from the bright colors shown during the spring. Most seem to come in various shades of yellow but a closer look reveals hints of patterns and markings on the face, wings, and underparts that help with their identification. The migration hotspot of South Padre Island is a great place to study fall warblers as well as other migrants. On a recent visit, I had the chance to see several of those small confusing birds, including several Yellow Warblers. This is a good bird to know well because it’s one of our most abundant warbler species.
The Wilson’s Warbler is similar but has a different shape, lacks yellow on the undertail, and the male has a black cap.
Yellow and Wilson’s Warblers look more or less the same as they do during the spring. That can’t be said about the Magnolia Warbler. This smart looking bird has bold black streaks on the breast and more pattern on the face during the spring but loses those markings in the fall.
With its bright yellow plumage, small black mask, and two white bars on grayish wings, the Blue-winged Warbler is one of the more striking fall warblers.
Prairie Warblers also show up in south Texas. The distinctive pattern on the face, dark streaks on the flanks, and tail wagging behavior make them pretty easy to recognize.
In addition to warblers, lots of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are also passing through south Texas.
These are just a few of the birds seen that day on South Padre Island. Hopefully, I will get shots of more species on my next visit.