Saturday, August 29, 2009

They're Here!

Magnolia Warbler

I had Friday off work and went on a mid-morning bike ride along the Pheasant Branch Conservancy creek corridor trail. Though I wasn't expecting much in the way of migrant birds because of a weak NexRad migration reading the previous night, I brought along my binoculars just in case.

A precursor to how the birding might be further down the corridor was when I happened upon a beautiful Golden-winged Warbler near Parmenter Street. A little further down the trail and I came upon a Swainson's Thrush. Then, just after Park Street, the warblers were everywhere, "dripping from the trees" as they say. Most numerous were American Restarts and Chestnut-sided Warblers, but at one point I had 3 Canada Warblers in the field of view of my binocular. Golden-winged Warblers were poking their bills into clumps of dangling dead leaves, hopeful of a concealed spider or caterpillar inside. Several Blackburnian Warblers, some still showing their fiery orange, were higher up in the canopy. A Mourning Warbler was skulking in the thicket below. It's fascinating to observe the specialized foraging behavior and habitat preference of each species.

Fortunately for me, the flock was stationary and remained near the first stream crossing for over an hour, giving me plenty of time to ensure I didn't miss identifying a bird. Also part of the flock were Red-eyed Vireos, Black-capped Chickadees (of course), and even a Scarlet Tanager. As I told my field trip participants on Thursday, "Find the chickadees and you'll find the warblers." I'm not entirely sure why they associate, perhaps it's because the chickadees are so vocal when foraging and warblers pick up on this.

Location: Pheasant Branch
Observation date: 8/28/09
Number of species: 50

Canada Goose
Great Blue Heron
Mourning Dove
Barred Owl
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Yellow-bellied Flycatcher
Warbling Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue Jay
American Crow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Golden-winged Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Mourning Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Baltimore Oriole
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

© 2009 Mike McDowell

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