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Early season warbler

It’s January 5th, and I’m already dreaming of this year’s warbler migration.

This male black-and-white warbler is currently touring Mexico or Central America, maybe foraging in a shade-grown coffee plantation, putting on weight eating moth and butterfly larvae for the the trip back to Vermont and parts north. It’s one of the earliest migrants. The females look similar, but are paler, and they have a white throat.

The black-and-white warbler is sometimes called “moss-plucking” from its genus, Mniotilta. The call sounds like a small squeaky wheel, going round and round. You can listen here, and file it away for April or May when you’ll hear it mixed in with all the sounds of the spring chorus.

This painting took quite a bit longer than most to complete. Getting the background to recede and painting the specific detail of all that lichen took some 24 hours. If you look closely, you can see a few spiderweb strands catching the light.

Early spring warbler is a 10 x 20 inch acrylic painted on a wood panel. This painting sold in January 2023.

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