What a great day – ending with our year list (within our self-imposed 8km from home radius, we are not counting birds seen outside that circle) reaching 87 species and the garden list now standing at 41 species for the year. The day started with new birds in the garden – as usual, every one of them attracted to the small waterfall emptying into our garden pool. We added four species to our garden list for the year – Blue-headed Vireo, Philadelphia Vireo, Nashville Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Northern Parula and even got a few photographs though some are a bit distant and record shot quality only so for the moment we will just post a photo of the Northern Parula, a stunningly beautiful little bird. Anyone who doesn’t have moving water of some sort in their gardens is denying themselves a lot of birds.
After that, it was clear that today was going to be a birdy day and so we went for a walk in the arboretum. Two kilometres and just under three hours – kept having to stop and look at birds.
The new birds for the year list (FOY species as we say in the trade) were Eastern Wood-pewee, Great crested Flycatcher, Warbling Vireo, Winter Wren, Gray Catbird, Black-throated Blue Warbler, Canada Warbler, Bobolink and Brown-headed Cowbird.
All the birds we saw in the arboretum today were observed between 10:30 and 13:00 in hot, bright sunshine, thus putting the lie to the assumption tat going out after 8am is a fruitless exercise …. certainly it is a lot harder the later you go but the birds are there, you just have to find them.
Stars of the show were, naturally, the Bobolinks who have come back again to the two farm fields just east of the arboretum. There is a good chance this year that the hay crop will be delayed until after their young leave the nest … so, fingers crossed. We will be monitoring their progress for the arboretum people anyway. It was such a nice thing to walk into the field this morning and to hear their bubbling call and to see the bright yellow heads of the males in the grass and perched in a tree at the far side. Have a listen to their call at http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/bobolink/sounds . Other highlights – a Blackburnian Warbler in its gorgeous orange and black feathers hopping around in a tree just above our heads and an Eastern phoebe sallying forth to take insects in the air above the seasonal pond in the old quarry. Seeing the Black-throated Blue Warbler as were almost back at the car and a beautiful Canada Warbler with its necklace by the larch plantation.
We are in for a few wet days now … birding will quieten down for us accordingly.
Here is a gallery of some photographs from this morning … garden birds are marked accordingly. We have included a few spring forest flowers as well for variety and a couple of cute mammals.The pictures will enlarge if you click one.