Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Influx of Yellow-rumped Warblers!

(radar showing migration activity last night)

Multi-millions of migratory birds lit up NEXRAD through much of last night. Each morning, throughout spring migration, I rush over to the computer right after I awake and check radar to get a sense of how much activity I might expect for birding.

Of course, it doesn’t stop me from going even when there isn’t much activity, but it does help me decide where to go – maybe a visit to one of several "migrant traps" along the stream corridor of Pheasant Branch Conservancy. With only a brief look at the map, I knew there would be many birds to see – but which species? Experienced birders will have a pretty good idea, but to be sure you’ve got to get out there...and bird.

This morning in Pheasant Branch, it seemed every tree had at least one Yellow-rumped Warbler hawking for insects. With hazy to cloudy conditions, the lighting wasn’t the best, but I still managed to digiscope a few good shots of the warblers. Here’s one such hungry migrant, pausing prior to yet another flying insect meeting its destiny (taken with the Nikon Coolpix 8400):

(click on image for larger version)

Here are other birds observed this morning along the stream corridor:

Wood Duck
Cooper’s Hawk
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Eastern Phoebe
American Crow
Blue Jay
Tree Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Purple Finch
House Finch
American Goldfinch

Yellow-rumped Warber image © 2006 Michael Allen McDowell

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