I think a more hip name for the Mag would be "Yellow Inked Warbler" referring to its "ink"- black streaks on the chest and sides, and especially the tail that looks like its been dipped in black ink. It could be the mascot for the "Sharpie" brand! Imagine if Terrell Owens had pulled out a Sharpie with a Magnolia Warbler on the label during his famous end-zone celebration.
It's fun to imagine new catchy names for birds, but birding is serious business...
My only sighting of the aforementioned warbler was six years ago at the Gilbert Water Ranch in the Phoenix area. So on Sunday I took a break from moving to our new home to chase one that was found in the Tanque Verde Wash in east Tucson. It was a cold, cloudy day by desert standards. As I reached the area where it was last seen I noticed another birder glassing the trees. I walked over to him and asked if he had seen the magnolia. He had, but it had flown. So I looked where he was pointing just in time to see a bird fly out of the tree. "Maybe that was it," he said. Maybe? Well that sucks. The sun was failing us, making it hard to pick out any color on flying birds. We repositioned ourselves in different spots to try to find it again. After 20 minutes, no luck. He left having seen the bird, leaving me out in the cold.
I spent the next hour scouring the area without any luck. I decided to head home since my truck was parked in our new driveway packed with Christmas decorations that Gaby was waiting for me to unload. I checked every bird I detected on the half-mile walk back to the car. Suddenly I spotted a Black-throated Gray Warbler in the willows. Then there she was, the Yellow Inked Warbler! Success. Too bad the lighting was awful.
The sun came out a little but this photo is still pretty crappy. On a positive note it was my 34th warbler species for Pima County!