Monday, May 11, 2015

Colliers Mills WMA 5/11--Indigo Bunting

I believe it was that noted ornithologist, Mark Twain, who said, "Everybody complains about the warblers, but nobody does anything about it." The dearth of warblers the last week or so has birders on the east coast gnashing their teeth. On the WSB we had 6 species of warblers, none of them new for the year or even particularly hard to find, all them probably nesters in the area. Today, at Colliers Mills, it wasn't any better--I had just about the same warblers, except fewer of each. I heard one Ovenbird, I saw one Pine Warbler, I heard a whopping two Black-and-white Warblers, and so one. Granted, I got a late start, but a friend who got an earlier start this morning heard/saw exactly zero warblers at Pine Park. That's almost impossible.

I just checked the eBird list for Magee Marsh in Ohio. They had 137 species of birds reported there including Kirtland's, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Worm-eating Warblers. Here's the good news--we're going there on Thursday. Here's the bad news: the forecast is for a lot of rain starting Friday.

Meanwhile, back at the WMA, I did manage to see a few nice birds, starting with a Warbling Vireo near the parking, a few Baltimore Orioles, Grasshopper Sparrow, the first Eastern Wood-Pewee I've seen this year (I've heard them already) and, completely new for the year an Indigo Bunting in the cleared area of the hill that overlooks Turnmill Pond. Now a slight gripe from a man who spent his working years worrying about color theory: There is nothing indigo about an Indigo Bunting. It is blue. (There is a related bird called the Blue Bunting, which looks very much like an Indigo Bunting is assuredly blue.)

Leaving aside the fact that the color indigo actually doesn't exist in the color spectrum (Newton threw it in there because there were 7 musical notes and he thought the color scale should, for whatever harebrained reason match up with the musical scale), if it did exist is would look almost indistinguishable from what we might call deep violet (nnnnnnnn) sort of like that. So the next time the AOU gets around to changing common names of birds, I wish they'd address this particular misnomer. End of lecture.

I did manage to find 33 species in my wanderings, which weren't as extensive as they usually are--I think I'm still tired from the WSB. I did walk back to the 2nd pond past the power line cut to get my Wood Ducks. They are reliably in that spot, though I superstitiously check the back of CM Lake and the first pond before I walk there. 

Canada Goose  7
Wood Duck  2     
Mallard  1     North end of CM Lake
Turkey Vulture  3
Osprey  1
Mourning Dove  5
Red-bellied Woodpecker  3     Heard
Eastern Wood-Pewee  2
Great Crested Flycatcher  5     Heard
Eastern Kingbird  2
Warbling Vireo  1
Blue Jay  1
American Crow  1     Heard
Carolina Chickadee  1     Heard
Tufted Titmouse  1
White-breasted Nuthatch  2
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher  3
American Robin  40
Gray Catbird  50
Ovenbird  1     Heard
Black-and-white Warbler  2     Heard
Common Yellowthroat  10     Heard
Yellow Warbler  
1     Heard, parking lot
Pine Warbler  1
Prairie Warbler  2     Heard
Eastern Towhee  5     Heard
Chipping Sparrow  6
Grasshopper Sparrow  2
Northern Cardinal  2
Indigo Bunting  1     
Red-winged Blackbird  25
Brown-headed Cowbird  3
Baltimore Oriole  3     One male near parking lot, male and female on east side of CM Lake

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