Saturday, May 5, 2012

Exciting Finds!

Yellow Warbler
Yesterday, I got an email from Mary Lou, saying she had seen a Canada warbler at the park in the morning! I rushed down there around 4:30 p.m., but no sign of it although I did see Skulker, the hermit thrush! Turned out that Bev had seen it as well. Apparently, it was quite striking.

So, this morning I got up and arrived at the park around 7:00 a.m. It was cloudy and about 52 degrees. There was a veritable orchestra of various bird song going on. Tree swallows chittering, yellow warblers vying for best songster, chipping sparrows doing their thing and lots of little warbler sounds. In fact, the oak tree at the corner of the parking lot and the path to the lower gardens was a hub of warbler and songbird activity. I must have stood there for half an hour just watching the goings ons. Black and white warblers were flitting around as well as yellow rumps of both sexes. Finally, we're seeing more females.
The lower gardens were packed with goldfinches, catbirds, house wrens bubbling, house finches and my first Eastern Kingbird sitting atop a Tree of Heaven. Red winged blackbirds were making a racket, and a white throated sparrow sang in the distance.

Unlikely couple!
Cowbird male
Cowbird female
Then, Mary Lou appeared! She was hoping to see the Canada warbler again and I was hoping to see it with her. Bev even drove by in hopes of seeing it too, but couldn't stay long. Unfortunately, it did not reappear, but lots of other birds did, including a Great Crested flycatcher (sadly, I never saw it)! Mary Lou and her friend spotted a bird high up in a tree that at first glance appeared to be a parula. On closer inspection, Mary Lou thought she saw orange on the throat and some black on the head instead of the yellow that we thought we saw and was thinking Blackburnian. Much discussion followed but a definite identification was inconclusive as the bird was gone. We headed to the upper gardens…

Still no sign of the bluebirds. It was fairly quiet up there and as we were leaving we saw a flash of yellow,  and some gray. We thought it was a Nashville, but wanted to get a better look. Thanks to Mary Lou's good ears, we found the bird had flown across the gardens to an oak tree where we finally had a really good look at it. It was definitely a Nashville!

Heard the warbling vireo from Woodock meadow and decided to cut through the woods by the JCC. I almost said goodbye to Mary Lou as I wanted to walk by the pond again, but I'm so glad I didn't. As we walked through the woods, the beautiful flute-like song of the wood thrush floated in the air. It's back!

Mary Lou was still thinking about the possibility of a blackburnian so we went back to the big old oak tree and lo and behold, there it was, towards the very top of the tree. This time, the light was a little different and we both got a great look at it - it's throat was dark orange and very bright. She was right! Our parting shot was a blue headed vireo that had flown into a crab apple tree in the lower gardens and sang its beautiful song, just 10 feet from where we watched.

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