Warblers look their best in spring as they head north to their various breeding grounds.
By August, many of their feathers are damaged and colours begin to fade.
The Peterson Field Guide to the Birds has 28 drawings of “confusing fall warblers”.
I saw two species today at Ashbridge’s Bay which were not immediately easily identifiable.
The first looked just like a Black and White Warbler with a striped crown and white stripes on the back. The problem was that there was an orange colour on the underparts. I assume that this colour is either a stain or aging feathers turning colour and that this is a Black and White Warbler.
The second looks like a Cape May Warbler:
but lacks the chestnut cheek colour. I assume that this is a Cape May Warbler and that the cheek colour has faded over the summer.
The farmer hastens from the heat;
The weary plough-horse droops his head;
The cattle all at noon retreat,
And ruminate beneath the shade. – George Moses Horton (ca. 1798–ca. 1883)