Saturday, August 4, 2012

Migration Begins...

Morning Glory!
Now this is a sight to make you happy in the morning!

It was 73 degrees and hazy - the humidity building in already. I had to get over there ASAP as I got an email from Mary Lou with some great sightings including a blue winged warbler in the upper gardens.

I started in the lower and saw two yellow throats right away. Saw our regulars i.e., robins, house wrens, catbirds, song sparrows and later titmice and Cedar waxwings. That devilish house sparrow is still there, unfortunately. As I rounded a bend, there was a hubbub of activity in the oak trees. First, I saw several chickadees flying back and forth across the path, very interested in some kind of food in the trees. Then I saw a flash of yellow, a white wingbar and there before me were a couple of blue winged warblers! I was so excited. This must be a sign that migration has begun. Later, I ran into Haynes. He had seen a blue-gray gnatcatcher and a black and white warbler.

In the upper gardens there must have been a raptor of some kind. The crows and blue jays were going crazy - probably for over an hour. I waited for ages and thought I saw some large tan wings flying for an instant in the woods, but could never confirm what it might have been. Their alarm calls were so upsetting that I almost had to leave. It was making me very anxious because it sounded like they were screaming for their lives.

Hungry Barn Swallows
Otherwise, there were yellow warblers, goldfinches, a couple of hummingbirds, a young cardinal, house wrens and song sparrows. But, I was treated to a nice viewing of a Great Crested flycatcher perched at the top of a tree with his feathers looking a little bedraggled. When I went back up there with Haynes, we saw high up in an oak tree, at least three red-eyed vireos flitting about, which was quite nice.

We headed down to the soccer field and pond as we were hoping to see the green heron and/or sandpiper that have been there recently. There were at least one, possibly two young orioles down there - maybe they are the ones I had been seeing in the upper gardens, now old enough to explore further.  A peewee called from the woods and a mockingbird flew from shrub to shrub as we walked down the field. A downy, another yellowthroat and then a beautiful female grosbeak appeared. Later we saw a phoebe too.

Sadly, there was no sign of any of the birds we hoped for at the pond so we headed to the river. There were some Cedar waxwings in a tree across the river, but the best part was the baby barn swallows have hatched! I tried to take a picture of them nestled in their nest and every time my flash went off, they thought mom was arriving with food and they would stand up straight and open their beaks. It was so comical. They looked like a little chorus line - the Swallowettes!

Saw a little toad on our way back. Having shown Pete G. a picture in the past, my guess it was a baby American toad, but will try and confirm.


  1. Very cool about the blue-winged warblers! I have yet to find them.

  2. Nor have I. But looking for them this morning, I turned up a Bay-breasted Warbler in the trees at the "top" of the upper garden!