Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Colliers Mills WMA 4/26--Warbling Vireo, Prairie Warbler

Warbling Vireo
It's fun to find birds in unexpected places--we see Mallards all the time but it was an event when two of them spent time on our lawn a couple of years ago. But the meat and potatoes of birding is going to locations at the right time to find the birds you'd expect to be there. Today's two year birds are good examples.

The little parking lot at the south end of Colliers Mills Lake (which is called a lake, even though it is much smaller than Turnmill Pond, to which it is connected by a small stream) is a reliable spot for Warbling Vireo. I knew they'd been reported there, right on schedule, but my foray yesterday there, in the rain and wind, was unsuccessful. Nothing was singing, me least of all. Today, I tried again, and as soon as I got out of the car I heard the vireo's song. There are two problems with the Warbling Vireo. The first is its song. The mnemonic for it is something along the lines of "If I sees you I will seize you and squeeze you 'til you squirt." Which is fine except that you need a mnemonic to remember the mnemonic and its just easier to know that an endless burble is a Warbling Vireo. The second problem is appearance. I like to find the bird, and I did, pretty easily, high up in a tree over the stream, but it is just about the dullest looking singing bird you're ever going to see. The more time you spend looking for it, the less rewarded you feel. Fortunately, I found it fast.

The second bird, Prairie Warbler, I again found in its historical spot, after the bend in Hawkin Road, on the way to the berm parking lot. I heard a couple softly singing their scales just at the elbow of the road and finally was able to pish one in about 2/3 of the way up the road. It was moving around fast, flew over my head into some pines and I lost it in the needles. The deciduous trees are starting to leaf out which means it is going to get even more difficult for me to find birds than it usually is.

Another happy sighting was at the very end of my walk, when I was looking around the bushes to the left of the parking lot. I saw a White-throated Sparrow (I'd heard one singing earlier) and then, right behind, I finally saw my first Common Yellowthroat. I've heard probably 25 of them this month, but this was the first one I actually saw skulking in the vegetation.

I spent exactly 3 hours walking around the WMA and came up with 30 species for the day, a much more successful tour than yesterday, even though the misty weather was only marginally better.
Canada Goose 10
Wood Duck 6
Killdeer 1
Mourning Dove 3
Red-bellied Woodpecker 5
Northern Flicker 1 Heard
Warbling Vireo 1
Blue Jay 3
Barn Swallow 5 Fields behind law enforcement shooting range
Carolina Chickadee 2
Tufted Titmouse 1 Heard
Red-breasted Nuthatch 1 Heard
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 10
Eastern Bluebird 2
American Robin 4
Brown Thrasher 2 Singing
European Starling 2
Black-and-white Warbler 5
Common Yellowthroat 6
Palm Warbler 1
Pine Warbler 1
Yellow-rumped Warbler 2
Prairie Warbler 3
Chipping Sparrow 7
White-throated Sparrow 2
Swamp Sparrow 1
Eastern Towhee 10
Northern Cardinal 2
Red-winged Blackbird 5
Brown-headed Cowbird 1 Hawkin Rd

Barn Swallows don't read

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