Tuesday, May 03, 2011


Gretchen and I went birding on Sunday and actually made it out into the field at 7 a.m.! Though conditions were less than ideal--it was in the 60s with overcast skies the whole time, with winds every once in a while building up--we still were richly rewarded for our efforts!

First and foremost, I saw my absolute favorite bird, the Blackburnian Warbler:
You can see that backlighting (and frontlighting, for that matter) was awful, but I managed to lighten these up enough so the fiery orange would show. We saw several of these birds, which was a real thrill; I hadn't seen one since my atlassing days several years ago. Not seeing your absolute favorite bird for so long can lead to, when the bird is finally seen again, little fits of tears, inability to stop smiling, and a serious case of warbler neck as one peers into the trees for "just one more minute!"

We were going for as many warbler species in one trip as possible; some of the local birders on the listserv have been posting numbers in the mid-teens, so we at least wanted to get close to that, especially in light of the fact that we're in training for the PA Migration Count coming up in a couple of weeks. (Gretchen volunteered to lead the effort at our local Toftrees State Gamelands area, which means that we won't get to do what we usually do: hang back behind the "real" birders who are just listening and just kinda go, "oh yeah, BTGreen, BTBlue, and Prairie, right, uh-huh..." and shrug. More on this effort in another post.)

Some more photos from our quest:Two Pileateds were hanging out, one in a tree and one on the ground, and I should've gotten a better photo but I was too slow.

A terrible shot of a Black-and-White:

This American Redstart came within a couple of feet of my face, so close I could barely get my camera up and snapped in time:He was right up in my grill!

And finally, a Rose-breasted Grosbeak after not having seen one since like 2006!Hadn't seen one of these in years either!

Of course you know I was also on the lookout for life-flowers:Rue Anemone

Mystery flower -- some kind of cinquefoil? No clue.

We also got to see some tadpoles!The water was so cold they weren't moving very much at all; it's hard to tell but there are literally hundreds of them in this photo, all in a little swirl.

Our final checklists from the road through the Barrens and then from the pond area, with a grand total of 14 warbler species!

Ruffed Grouse 5
Wild Turkey 1
Mourning Dove 1
Northern Flicker (Yellow-shafted) 1
Pileated Woodpecker 2
Blue Jay 1
American Crow 2
Common Raven 1
Black-capped Chickadee 10
Tufted Titmouse 2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 2
Wood Thrush 5
Gray Catbird X
Northern Mockingbird 1
Brown Thrasher 2
Nashville Warbler 3
Northern Parula 1
Chestnut-sided Warbler 8
Magnolia Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 9
Black-throated Green Warbler 6
Blackburnian Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Black-and-white Warbler 1
Ovenbird 5
Common Yellowthroat 6
Hooded Warbler 1

Chipping Sparrow 4
Field Sparrow 6
Northern Cardinal 1
Rose-breasted Grosbeak 1
Common Grackle 2
Purple Finch 12
American Goldfinch 9

Canada Goose 1
Mallard 3
Ruffed Grouse 2
Pied-billed Grebe 3
Great Blue Heron 1
Green Heron 1
Cooper's Hawk 1
American Coot 1
Red-bellied Woodpecker 3
Great Crested Flycatcher 1
Blue Jay 2
American Crow 5
Fish Crow 2
Black-capped Chickadee X
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet 2
American Robin 2
Gray Catbird X
Northern Mockingbird 1
Yellow Warbler 1
Blackburnian Warbler 1
American Redstart 2
Eastern Towhee X
Chipping Sparrow 1
Savannah Sparrow 1
Song Sparrow 1
Northern Cardinal 1
Red-winged Blackbird 3
Brown-headed Cowbird 5
Purple Finch 6
American Goldfinch 4

We also had an owl swoop across the road right in front of us, but all I saw was buffy-brown and white. Maybe a Barred, judging from the size and colors? Who knows. Certainly not a good enough look to call it a lifer, dangit. We tried following it into the woods; "ha ha!" he must've said, "as if you'll ever find me!" At least I didn't get any ticks on me.

Not that I've found, anyway.

One other note: we had a FeederFirst! (I should trademark that!) yesterday morning, an Indigo Bunting!SWEET!


Rabbits' Guy said...

You have such colorful birds there.

Here a Stellars Jay is colorful!

Larry said...

I've never been able to get a Blackburnina photo-great job just getting the photo! Nice redstart and Pileated photos-We haven't uite hit full speed on the warblers yet in Connecticut but I imagine this weekend should be good.

J-o-h-n-n-y said...


Such an awesome place to do birding in the NW!