On the afternoon of December 18, OCAS President, Ron Payne, was walking down Mill St. in Middlebury on his way to the post office when he spotted an unusual bird in a flock of Chickadees. Recognizing that it was a Warbler, which meant whatever else it was, it was a good bird for December, he got out his camera and started taking pictures and had the good fortune of getting some good shots. But even with those, he had look the bird up to ID it as a Yellow-throated Warbler, and then was able to count it as a new life bird for his list.

If accepted by the Vermont Birds Records committee, this would officially be the 11th record of the species in the State of Vermont. Though this species has a normal Northern range that ends about the latitude of the New York/Pennsylvania border, it is know for semi-regular vagrancy into the north. Overwintering this far North is somewhat less well precedented, however.

The timing of finding this bird was fortuitous as it placed it inside the count-week window for the Middlebury Christmas Bird Count. And this Yellow-throated Warbler has been a gift that keeps on giving. Since Dec, 18, it has been re-found by many other birders. The crowds of birders looking for this bird also brought to light how long it has been in the area. Peter Voorhees, who lives nearby, heard about the birders looking for this bird and remembered he had seen a bird that had a yellow throat that he didn’t recognize on November 29. He took a picture of it but only managed to get it from behind, but the picture shows enough to confirm it was a Yellow-throated Warbler.

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