Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nasty Weather!

Yellow-rumped Warbler looking for insects.

Chilling winds carried a vile mixture of rain, sleet, and snow for most of the day. Overnight weather was unfavorable for bird migration. I anticipated that a mixed songbird flock I saw yesterday along the creek corridor near the Parmenter Street bridge would still be there today. But going against my usual rule of digiscoping only on sunny days, I decided to bring my gear along.

Black-capped Chickadee watching the snow.

Not surprisingly, most of the warblers (and other birds) were foraging on or near the ground because there were very few insects to be found up in the trees. There were dozens upon dozens of Yellow-rumped Warblers flitting around. Sorting through them, I also found an Orange-crowned Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, and two Pine Warblers:

Pine Warbler

Getting pelted with rain, sleet, and snow.

The birds had it a little rough today, but I feel confident they'll endure. Stalled at Pheasant Branch isn't such a bad fortune for them; it's a very suitable migratory stop-over point while they wait for favorable weather so they can continue north.

Hermit Thrush

I was getting soaked from being pelted with sleet, so I went under the bridge to wipe the water droplets from my glasses, binoculars, camera, and spotting scope. To my astonishment, I discovered I had company. Several Yellow-rumped Warblers were searching for insects around the rocks:

Location: Pheasant Branch
Observation date: 4/16/11
Number of species: 38

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Great Blue Heron
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Phoebe
Blue Jay
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Golden-crowned Kinglet
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Pine Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Louisiana Waterthrush
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch

All images & video © 2011 Mike McDowell


  1. How many warblers etc will die because of this..I always wondered this but I never really find dead birds(ground conditions are great to find any)..always hate when we get that week of really warm weather and then the cold comes back, know it can't be good for our feathered friends.

  2. Probably not very many, if any at all. Pines and Yellow-rumps are pretty hearty birds.


  3. Gorgeous pictures. I can't believe your camera works so well in that light. I use a Nikon d300 with a 150-500 mm Sigma lens and it would capture incredibly blurry pictures in the same situation. Also, that Hermit Thrush looks incredibly pitiful. I hope it warms up soon.