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Kentucky Warbler Photos

Photography by Terry Sohl

My Favorite: If you've been birding in a state for 20 years, how often do you get two new life birds, in one location, in the span of 10 minutes? The spring of 2020 was absolutely spectacular for warbler migration in eastern South Dakota.  I recorded over 20 species in the span of a week. It was pretty much checking off all the ones you'd expect during spring migration, plus most of the "good ones". But those "good ones" were all birds I've seen before (if not for a few years on some of them).  Towards the end of migration in late May, however, birders s at Newton Hills State Park heard an unfamiliar song, and soon found the source, a Hooded Warbler male singing his heart out from the top of a dead tree.  Within a day or so they also started reporting a Kentucky Warbler, with both birds less than 100 yards apart! Both are very rare migrants in South Dakota.

I tried twice in late May to find them. Struck out both times. It was June 11th, about 2 weeks past the time when you'd expect migrant warblers to still be hanging around, that someone reported both. I headed down to Newton Hills one more time, and in the span of 10 minutes...2 lifers!  The photos aren't the best for either species, given the Hooded Warbler was singing from the top of a tall tree, and the Kentucky Warbler was hanging out in dense forest and shade, but it was a great day, with two beautiful birds.

Kentucky Warbler - Geothlypis formosa

Kentucky Warbler 1 - Geothlypis formosa Kentucky Warbler 2 - Geothlypis formosa Kentucky Warbler 3 - Geothlypis formosa  

Kentucky Warbler 1

June 11th, 2020
Newton Hills State Park, South Dakota

Kentucky Warbler 2

June 11th, 2020
Newton Hills State Park, South Dakota

Kentucky Warbler 3

June 11th, 2020
Newton Hills State Park, South Dakota

Click here for the species description page for the Kentucky Warbler.

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Please mail any comments/suggestions/additional links for this page to: Terry L. Sohl