Golden-winged Warbler: new to the Western Paleartic

Published on 01 November 1992 in Main articles

n 24th January 1989, Mrs C. Miller noticed a colourful bird feeding in the garden of her house at Larkfield, Kent. Though not a birdwatcher, she realised that it was unusual, and made a drawing of it. Three days later, it reappeared, and Mr Miller managed to take some photographs of it. Enquiries were begun as to the identity of this strange bird.In the meantime, on 7 th February, whilst on my way to post a letter at the opposite end of the Lunsford Park Estate, I chanced upon the same bird. It was very striking. There were obvious lemon-yellow patches on the crown and greater coverts, a black patch running back from the bill and around the eye, and a broad black bib. The remainder of the upperparts were basically greyish, and the underparts were whitish. I judged the size as similar to that of a Wood Warbler Phylbscopus sibilatrix. I did not have any binoculars with me, but the bird was remarkably tame and I was able to watch it for about three minutes at ranges down to 2 m before it flew off. My first reaction was that it was an American wood-warbler (Parulidae). After only a few seconds’ thought, however, I dismissed mat possibility as far too fanciful. The date and place were all wrong; also, I do have a basic knowledge of the American warblers on the British list and this bird did not fit any of them. If it was an American wood-warbler, it

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