One of my first favorite birds to shoot back when I first started doing bird photography for pleasure was the Yellow-rumped Warbler. In eastern North Carolina, where I got my start, they were everywhere during winter. Here’s one I shot in the Spring of 2013, just starting his transition from winter plumage to breeding plumage:

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) Wilmington NC, 2013

Affectionately known as Butterbutts for their conspicuous patch of bright yellow at the base of their tails, there are four subspecies (once considered separate species). In the east, in winter, we had the Myrtle subspecies, pictured above. Note the white eyebrow (known as a supercilium), and large white patch on the throat. Until yesterday, it’s the only subspecies I’d ever seen.

Taking full advantage of the intermittent spate of pretty days of late, yesterday I took off and headed to Discovery Park here in Seattle, and as I was walking down to the beach area, lo and behold that old familiar flash of yellow ass caught my attention. But something here is different.

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's) Seattle 2021

See the smaller, and notably yellow, throat patch? It’s hard to see from this angle (it’s about the only angle I could get at the time), but there’s also no supercilium. This is the Audubon’s subspecies, and though it’s not really an official addition to my life-lists, it was still cool to see the western variation on an old friend.

But just a few minutes later… What’s this????

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) Seattle 2021

So it turns out that the breeding grounds for the eastern, Myrtle subspecies is across Canada, all the way  from Alaska to the northeastern United States, while the Audubon’s subspecies breeds here in the western US and Canada. So finding Myrtles here is common enough that they don’t even show up in eBird’s daily Rare Bird Alert emails. I was lucky enough to catch sight of both of these subspecies within just a few minutes of each other. Exciting for me, though probably run-of-the-mill for long-time local birders.

Of course I couldn’t write an entire post about Butterbutts without an actual shot of an actual buttered butt, right?

Butterbutt (Myrtle) Seattle 2021

It’s not hard to see how they came by their nickname.

I’ve been running a day late on these posts, but Imma try to get back on schedule with Friday’s post on Levitation.

This post is a part of another round of the 52-week challenge photography project. I’ll post the pieces on Tuesdays, and this is the shot for this week. Click the camera icon above to see the other pieces for this project, or just click here.