Friday, May 06, 2005

ALERT: Warblers!

For some it’s the arrival of American Robins, and for others the first Baltimore Oriole they observe in their backyard feeding on oranges or grape jelly. For me, spring migration is marked by the arrival of the warblers, vireos and flycatchers…but especially the warblers! With the cold weather finally clearing out of the state and impressive NexRad maps prognosticating hopeful fallouts, the birds did not disappoint this morning. A small thundershower was just moving out of the area leaving Pheasant Branch Conservancy with a tropical fragrance and appearance. Soon the first warbler is heard, ”beeee-buzzzzBLUE-WINGED WARBLER! Suddenly it's realized that the upper-story is swarming with the wee ones - Orange-crowned, Nashville, Blue-headed Vireo and more. The excitement came to an apex when I focused on a small flock of warblers foraging on a thick tree limb…one was an interesting shade of bright blue. I cautiously mention to my friend Jesse, “Hey, I think I’ve got a Cerulean here…” We followed the bird as best we could, but it kept flying further down the forest corridor. As we continued down the trail, a warbler song stopped me in my tracks “tzeedl tzeedl tzeedl ti ti ti tzeeee,” the CERULEAN WARBLER confirmed. By the end of the outing we tallied 13 warbler species for a very productive morning of birding and it’s just going to get better!

Here’s just a sampling of the morning...

Orange-crowned Warbler
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Palm Warbler
Pine Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Northern Waterthrush
Blue-headed Vireo
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-throated Sparrows

American Redstart image © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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