One of the only other times we had seen a Swainson’s Warbler was when we saw a flash of our lifer bird in the leaf litter under the azalea bushes. That little magician disappeared for good – never to be found again, no matter how hard we looked, even if it meant ruining a family portrait session in the park.
Upon looking at this bird, most people would wonder what the big fuss is all about. It’s just an LBJ (Little Brown Job), right? Well, as stated on the Swainson’s Warbler’s entry on Cornel Lab’s “All About Birds” page:
One of the most secretive and least observed of all North American birds, the Swainson's Warbler is a skulking bird of the southern canebrakes and rhododendron thickets. If it weren't for its loud, ringing song, the presence of the species in many areas would go completely undetected.
So this was an incredibly successful scout outing! Unfortunately, when we brought the couple to this very spot a couple of weeks later, there was no Swainson’s Warbler. No singing. No tree-hopping. Not even silent skulking. Nada. I felt bad for them, but also felt grateful that we had been able to find this magnificent yet understated bird with the experience that we had.