Half a mile of powerline…

was all we needed to find 22 species of warblers. Located in Dauphin County along Stony Creek Road, the ‘back’ powerline cut can be a hotspot for warbler migration when the conditions are right. They were right this morning as we discovered soon after arriving there. The Blue-winged Warblers that are common here were bee-buzzing away as we walked down towards the creek. Yellow-rumped Warblers were also everywhere. Soon we had added Common Yellowthroat, Northern Parula, Black-throated Green, Nashville, Magnolia and Black-and-white Warblers to the list. A Louisiana Waterthrush singing by the creek brought us up to 9 warblers for the day.

On our walk back up from the creek we heard a different buzzy call. A Golden-winged Warbler! It played hard to get for a while, but we managed to get some good looks, confirming that it was indeed a real Golden-winged Warbler and not a hybrid. We added Ovenbird, Palm and Blackburnian Warblers to our list.

Blackburnian Warbler

Back up at the road we saw Yellow and Black-throated Blue Warblers and were looking at yet another Blue-winged Warbler when we heard some strange squawking. A Yellow-breasted Chat was singing off to the side. Sixteen warbler species and we had only walked a 200 ft stretch of the powerline cut.

Yellow-breasted Chat

We hiked up about half a mile, seeing lots more Blue-winged Warblers as well as our first American Redstarts, Chestnut-sided, Hooded, and Worm-eating Warblers. We broke the twenty warbler mark.
On our way back down to our cars we really hit the jackpot. Warblers were flitting back in forth in the tops of the trees and crossing the powerline cut. I got my first real taste of warbler neck for the year as birds were all really high up. All the species we had seen earlier where represented here, most in higher numbers than before. We stayed for quite a while, sometimes able to scan through the trees with our binoculars because the warblers were so thick. Here I picked up my first Bay-breasted Warbler and Cape May Warbler of the year.

Indigo Bunting

The last two warblers of the day were picked up at different locations to give us 24 for the day. An overgrown orchard provided us with several Prairie Warblers and we heard several Cerulean Warblers singing on the top of nearby Peter’s Mountain.
Other interesting migrants were Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great-crested Flycatcher, Pine Siskin, lots of Indigo Buntings, Scarlet Tanagers and Rose-breasted Grosbeaks.

Great Crested Flycatcher