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Prairie Warbler Off the Pacific Coast of Guatemala

Edwin Willis
5 (September-October)
From Field and Study
Online Text:

Prairie Warbler off the Pacific Coast of Guatemala.-At 11 a.m. on September 25, 1960, as scattered showers approached from the east, an immature Prairie Warbler (Dendroica discolor) flew aboard the freighter, M. S. Oakville, on which I was traveling between Los Angeles and the Panama Canal. We were on a course parallel to and some 190 kilometers southwest of the coast of Guatemala near Tahuesco. At noon, when I last saw the warbler, we were at latitude 12” 37’N and longitude 92” 31’W, about 33 kilometers southeast of our position at 11 a.m.

During the first part of the hour, the warbler hopped about the foredeck and along cables so near me that I almost caught it in my cap. I noted that it wagged its tail in the manner typical of the species as it pecked at tiny objects. Later it perched on the cables amidships, where it was photographed by another passenger, Mr. Harry Grossman of Pomona, California. Mr. Grossman has kindly provided color prints which show clearly the field marks I had noted at close range.

Since this warbler normally winters in Florida and the Caribbean area, this individual was far out of range. The only other record for the Pacific side of Middle America to my knowledge is that of a single bird taken on the VolcLn de San Miguel, El Salvador, on March 15, 1926 (Dickey and van Rossem, Field Mus. Nat. Hi&., 2001. Ser. 23, Publ. 406, 1938: I-609).

Shortly after the rains, several other land birds flew past. That storms bring down migrants aboard ships has been noted several times, particularly for the Gulf of Mexico.-EnwIN WILLIS, Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, Berkeley, California, March 3, 1961. 

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