Photo 3498704, (c) Greg Lasley, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC)

Attribution © Greg Lasley
some rights reserved
Uploaded by greglasley greglasley
Source iNaturalist
Associated observations

Photos / Sounds


Golden-cheeked Warbler (Setophaga chrysoparia)




April 2016


Texas, US (Google, OSM)


Please excuse the long-winded comments here, but this was just too special not to share with my iNat friends.

I was on the back deck of my house a while ago, adding sunflower seeds to a feeder that the siskins and goldfinches had about depleted. I saw some movement in one of the live oaks which hangs over my deck and saw that it was a Nashville Warbler. This is a common migrant in central Texas, but I had never gotten any shots of one in my yard. I went back in the house, grabbed a camera with a 100-400 mm lens and came back out on the deck to try to get some identifiable shots of the Nashville. I saw it occasionally popping in and out of view, but it would never give me enough time to get an identifiable shot. So, I'm standing there getting frustrated at the Nashville when suddenly...a Golden-cheeked Warbler started singing about 8 feet from me!

Golden-cheeked Warbler is an endangered species which nests nowhere but Texas. I have heard them from my property two or three times in the past years and seen a male nearby a few years ago, but the habitat in my neighborhood is certainly not prime for the species, but I do know they are around this immediate area in small numbers, but can be very difficult to find. Normally I have to go 30 or so miles from here to see this species, and then it is always iffy whether such a trip is successful. So, now this Golden-cheeked cranks up in song at 4 PM on an overcast and windy day right at my back door...AND I'm holding a camera! Long story short, I took 150+ images from as close as 6 feet as this mature male GCWA foraged in my live oaks! The bird seemed totally unconcerned about me blasting away with the camera and was busy grabbing small worms, etc. It was terrifically exciting. The bird spent at least 10 minutes above my deck, and sang 5 or 6 times, then flew off toward the more wooded property west of me. Golden-cheeks are quick to abandon locations where human habitation is too dense, but hopefully a place like my neighborhood where all the houses are on 2-3 acre sized properties, is more conducive to the bird sticking around. Anyway, first time I have photographed the species in this area or even in Hays County. And I never did get any shots of the Nashville. Somehow that is just O.K. :-)

By the way, the "out of range" designation which usually pops up on the iNat maps of any report of this species near Austin, is incorrect. The area of the Edwards Plateau just west of Austin is, and always has been, part of the normal range of this species.

Associated taxa

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