The three species above are each a member of the Parulidae (or wood-warbler) family. And each species tends to migrate earlier than other members of this large New World family. The Orange-crowned Warbler is a hardy warbler which spends the winter across the southern tier of the United States and into Central America. It nests in the Canadian boreal forest and in the high country of the American West. And it is infrequently captured at First Landing. This individual was captured on March 24th and is only the second in six seasons. See: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/orange-crowned_warbler/id
The Louisiana Waterthrush is also an early migrant, but flew a great distance to visit First Landing. See: http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Louisiana_Waterthrush/lifehistory Salt marshes and tidal creeks are not Louisiana Waterthrush breeding habitat, but the two birds pictured above seem to enjoy the Park. They were each banded on March 31; and each recaptured on April 2d. They had gained a little weight for the next leg of their migration. Note that the two waterthrushes are slightly different in the throat. Still white; and with a stout, long bill and white undertail coverts Louisiania's each.
The Northern Parula arrived today, April 2d. Parulas, of course, breed in the Spanish Moss in the Park each spring/summer---with some banded birds returning on multiple springs to nest within the area in which we band. This first arrival was an unbanded, after-second-year male. Perhaps this bird spent the winter in The Bahamas. http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/northern_parula/id
These three arrivals signal that the migration is underway and gathering momentum. It will not be long before Gnatcatchers, Catbirds, Flycatchers and the later-arriving warblers visit First Landing once again. Come see them some morning.