The Golden-crowned Warbler

6:55 AM

A Morning Dove flew across the highway in front of me, it’s wings slicing through the heavy mist. I was rolling south on US 281 shrouded in fog, 55 miles from The Valley and one hour from my Waterloo. Okay, so we all know that this Golden-crowned Warbler is a “must see” bird for my Big Year.  After a string of four successive disappointments, success is critical.  There is now pressure from my family, who are coalescing around the mantra of “Don’t chase anymore single birds- they’re a needle in a haystack”. The warbler was seen on Wednesday at the NABA Butterfly Garden next to Bentsen State Park.

8:30 AM

I rolled into the NABA parking lot, paid my daily admission fee and headed to the dike trail where the warbler had been seen.  Phil Kelly from Kokomo, Indiana, who originally located the bird, has provided excellent detailed directions and tips on how and where to view the Golden-crowned Warbler. I began slowly walking the trail.  Lots of Great Kiskadees and Green Jays were flitting from branch to branch and Yellow-rumped Warblers were flycatching everywhere.

Great Kiskadee at NABA Butterfly Garden (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

Green Jay at NABA (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

10:30 AM

On the west side of the dike trail I saw movement in the dense shrubs below me. Got you!  I stepped back into the trail and waved my arms wildly. Eventually Victor Luna noticed came running.  We were both able to snap several photos before the skulking warbler flitted ahead of us into another mass of brambles.

Golden-crowned Warbler at the NABA Butterfly Park in Mission, TX (Photo by John Vanderpoel)

11:35 AM

It was lunch time  and I was back in The Valley. A celebration was in order and where better to celebrate than Taco Palenque!  The two adobada tacos never tasted so good!

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18 Responses to The Golden-crowned Warbler

  1. riley wyna says:


  2. Andy Boyce says:

    Sitting at 735….no choice but to chase the singles. You may never leave CO again this year if you wait for doubles. Just my 2 cents.

  3. Kenneth Petersen says:

    Maybe it is a cold weather thing? Apparently your luck improves with the temperature.
    Let’s hope it is warm on the boat …

  4. Nick says:

    So healing to find something after those dips! Missing birds around town can be discouraging enough: what it’s like to miss on a continental scale I’d rather not contemplate. Thanks for persisting and may much rare fill your December!

  5. Jesus says:

    Great photos!

  6. Doug Koch says:

    Glad you got off the schnide with the Golden-crowned Warbler. Let’s hope it is the start of a big winning streak! Hopefully see you in Bodega next weekend.

  7. Fr. Tom Pincelli says:

    Way to go…they don’t call it “The Magic Valley” for nothing.


  8. Phil Kelly says:

    Congrats on 735! Glad you found the bird!

  9. Mike Hendrickson says:

    Congrats John! Where to go now? Clock is ticking and I am hoping the next 28 days are very good to you.

  10. Tom Auer says:

    I don’t know if I’m more jealous of the Golden-crowned Warbler or two tacos from Taco Palenque…

  11. Keith Brink says:

    Congratulations on the Golden-crowned Warbler. Very jealous, but that’s life. Here are some more rarities that you may not have.

    735 and counting. Great year John :)

  12. Jim Vanderpoel says:

    Niiice picture, John! What a great little bird. The photos of the jay and kiskadee were not too shabby either. I figured that if you were to break your slump, it would be in Texas.


  13. David Millican says:

    Hell yea John! Your luck’s turning around, now it’s time to open the flood gates! When it gets tough down the stretch, forget about the Redwing and others you missed. Think about your Golden-crowned amigo! Good things are to fly your way

  14. Congrats! That’s a great bird. Nice Green Jay picture too.


  15. Alex Burdo says:

    Great pickup, John. Really nice to see a picture of this bird in the ABA area, I am certainly jealous! Wish I was standing there with you.

    Alex Burdo

  16. Scott says:

    Nice pics…they almost make me want to be a birdwatcher too…almost

  17. Cécile Lee says:

    Congrats, you got l’Oie cendrée! Vive le Québec

  18. LindaVanderpoel says:

    It’s “birder”, Scott. . . . .

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