Black-throated Gray Warbler
Pictures: (click for larger images)
Black-throated Gray Warbler in a bottlebrush tree at the Bombshelter (Math Science Quad). 3/22/05 It was apparently travelling in a mixed-species flock with Lesser Goldfinches and House Finches. 3/22/05 Black-throated Gray Warbler Illustration. Note that the yellow is a tiny spot which you probably would see only under ideal circumstances.
-Photo by Jason Finley
-Illustration by Robert C. Stebbins from "Birds of the Campus" (1947) by Dr. Loye Miller.
Description: Small. 5" in length (beak to tail), smaller than a sparrow. Striking black and white striped head. Dark gray back, wings, tail. White chest.belly with flecks and stripes of black. This bird looks exactly like the Townsend's Warbler (which we have more of), except without the yellow.
Commonality/Seasonality: Rare. Probably just passes through in early Spring.
Location: The only one I've ever seen (albeit I've only been looking really hard for a year now, if that) was flitting around the bottlebrush trees in the Bombshelter eatery on south campus, which is incidentally a great place to see birds. It was March 22nd, 2005, and the little guy looked to be hanging out with a few other species of birds, which they are apparently known to do. Pine trees would be another likely location. This bird and probably a handful of other species merely pass through our area during migration.
Historical: Dr. Loye Miller wrote about Black-throated Gray Warblers, Townsend's Warblers, and Hermit Warblers together:
A slowly moving wave of these migrating warblers comes from the south in the first ten days of May (Black-throat may be a little earlier). I look for them along the Arroyo, where they frequently appear in the pines. In the hills they are partial to oaks and walnuts. I look for them each year very much as you might go down to the train to spend a few minutes with a friend who is just passing through.
-Miller, Loye. "Birds of the Campus, University of California, Los Angeles," from University of California Syllabus Series, No. 300. Text by Loye Miller, illustrations by Robert C. Stebbins. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1947.