Today Barb Powers, Ruth Stewart, and Claudia Kinder were completely confused by six Waterthrushes. We walked up the Nichols Hill Public Access Trail (in Dorset) specifically to see the waterthrushes which I have reported in that location. This is a hard wood forest with a few clusters of pine. There are two large rushing streams that join together that create a ravine and a stream raging loud enough to prevent hearing anyone 15 yards down trail. However, the song and chips of these birds prevail above the din of the water. A total of six were seen and or heard. Three were in one location, one in an off shoot trail, two more farther up the trail. Because of the habitat, we ID'd them as Louisiana Waterthrush until..............one perches on a leafless tree branch 20 feet from me providing a clear front view of the bird. It had a heavily streaked yellow breast. Barb Powers also saw one of them with the yellow breast with dense streaking. others we saw were grey/white with no tinge of yellow(that could we noticed) Three were interacting and chasing each other. If you are confused, so were we. The question is: do Louisiana Waterthrushes and Northern Waterthrushes migrate together and sometimes inhabit the same territory and defend that territory? Does a female Northern not have a yellow breast?
Why would a yellow breasted heavily streaked Northern Waterthrush be in a heavily wooded forest next to a wide, rushing stream?
Unfortunately we were not able to pick out any other characteristics such as the eye line, white throat, wagging tail sideways (up and down, yes) WE heard many songs but rising above the noise of the rushing water and they sounded like that of a Louisiana. I could be totally wrong on that.
So, were we seeing both the Louisiana and Northern interacting, defending territory, along a wide, rushing stream in a forest?
Martha Pfeiffer, Dorset