If you see any guide to common warblers in New England . . . the Magnolia Warbler is always displayed at the top of the guide. One would think the Magnolia would be seen regularly like the Common Yellowthroat or Yellow Warbler.
Perhaps this was once true . . . but not in recent years.
In an unscientific study, Ingrid and I have asked other birders whether they have seen Magnolia Warblers recently and invariably the answer is no. The last time Ingrid and I saw one was May 23, 2016 and we didn’t see one in 2015 either.
The guide books say the population is stable (or even increasing) and perhaps we are just missing them, but I wonder if the population is declining.
That said, Ingrid and I saw several of them today in Portland, Maine along with its less common “cousin”, the Wilson’s Warbler.
Our first stop was Capisic Pond, a birding hot spot located in residential area of Maine’s biggest city. There we got four first of the year (FOY) birds: the two warblers mentioned above, plus a pair of Orchard Orioles and dozens of Chimney Swifts (the flying cigars). And of course lots of other spectacular species.
A trip to nearby Evergreen Cemetery produced a FOY Blue-headed Vireo . . . and several more Magnolia Warblers (yah!!!!!).
Then we ended our day of birding at Scarborough Marsh where we saw FOY Glossy Ibis, Black-bellied and Semipalmated Plovers.
Upon arriving home we heard a Wood Thrush bringing our year total to 234.