Sunday, April 26, 2015

Belleplain SF 4/25--Broad-winged Hawk, Wood Thrush, Louisiana Waterthrush, Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow Warbler

Wild Turkey hen, Belleplain SF
It was quite a weekend of birding for us, starting on a cold morning in Belleplain SF with a group led by Mike & Pete. This is supposed to the "warbler trip" to kick off the spring. And while there were warblers around, especially Ovenbirds of which I estimated a conservative 30 heard, a lot of the birding was done by ear. I was driving, usually 2nd or 3rd in line, so perforce I missed a few birds. I'd rather not ram Mike in the rear (his car, that is) in order to catch a glimpse of a warbler.

(The birding weekend officially kicked off for us on Friday night when our friend Bob who lives in North Jersey, came down to spend the weekend birding with us. While we were having dinner, the whip-poor-will began to sing, loudly, and Bob had his first of 3 life birds for the weekend. Pretty cool--I've certainly never gotten a life bird while eating a meal. We went outside with a flashlight, because the whip sounded like it was on top of us, and it was, high in our neighbor's weeping cherry tree. The light flushed it, so Bob got to see the elusive nighjar.)

My first year bird was an ear bird--Wood Thrush--though Shari & Bob did see it--it's that driving problem.  But if  you're going to have an ear bird at least its good to have one with such a beautiful song. Louisiana Waterthrush, down at the bridge, was also by ear--another distinctive song, though not particularly lilting.

The group walked the little path to the beaver dam and waited and waited for a bird to show up. Just as we were turning around, I spotted a warbler high in a pine tree which turned out to be our quarry--Prothonotary Warbler. I'd never seen one so high in a tree but at least we did see it pretty well.

My third warbler was also by ear. Mike stopped for a Yellow-throated Warbler (which I heard last week at Belleplain).I missed that bird (driving), but just before we stopped I heard the tell-tale song of the Yellow Warbler (sweet sweet I'm so sweet) though it took a moment for the memory gears to mesh before I could identify the song.

The other year bird was a Broad-winged Hawk, usually a fall bird, but what goes south must go north, and instead of being a speck in the sky of a hawkwatch, this one was down low so that the stripe on the tail and the breast and underwing were all clearly visible.

We stopped for lunch just around noon and at the feeders by the visitor's center we all saw a Pine Siskin, a winter bird that apparently sees, given the frosty conditions of late, no compelling reason to migrate.
36 species
Wild Turkey  1
Black Vulture  1
Turkey Vulture  2
Broad-winged Hawk  1
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Laughing Gull  10
Mourning Dove  8
Red-bellied Woodpecker  4
Downy Woodpecker  1
Northern Flicker  1     Heard
White-eyed Vireo  3     Heard
Blue Jay  5
Tree Swallow  1
Carolina Chickadee  2
Tufted Titmouse  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  1     Heard
Carolina Wren  1     Heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  1
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Wood Thrush  1     Heard
American Robin  5
Ovenbird  30     Heard
Louisiana Waterthrush  1     Heard
Black-and-white Warbler  2     Heard
Prothonotary Warbler  1

Yellow Warbler  1     Heard
Pine Warbler  5
Prairie Warbler  1
Eastern Towhee  2     Heard
Chipping Sparrow  10
Field Sparrow  1     Heard
White-throated Sparrow  5
Northern Cardinal  1
Brown-headed Cowbird  5
Pine Siskin  1
American Goldfinch  6

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