I came within thirty-five feet of this Prairie Warbler without realizing it; I was looking up for an Osprey I saw with a fish in its talons. I heard a faint rustling and saw the yellow flicker, and I froze. She came even closer, landing on a branch maybe thirty feet before me, off to the right of the trail. She chirped, a sweet, barely audible call.
At first I id’d this yellow warbler as a Pine Warbler. But after studying two guides, and posting the photo on facebook, I’m pretty sure it’s a female Prairie Warbler, an eastern bird that is misnamed. The Prairie Warbler prefers dry, scrubby areas, semiopen second growth–especially with scrub oak, cedars, and pines–more than prairies. Yamato Scrub Nature Area is a perfect habitat. A fellow birder, and ecologist, who weighed in on facebook voted for female Prairie Warbler, noting that Prairies are year-round residents in South Florida. My second photo really shows the distinctive facial marks, which are lighter in the female, and more black in the male. If you can confirm this id, or have another guess, please leave a comment!