Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Weekend Arrivals

As May progresses I look out the window every morning hoping to see long absent birds at my feeders. Saturday morning was one of those mornings when it seems like birds have appeared by magic. Going from not much to large numbers of White-throated Sparrows and trees full of warblers is a birders fantasy.

Needless to say, I took the chance to throw some nets in my yard to see if I could put some "jewelry" on birds headed north. Lots of sparrows ended up in my hands. mostly White-thoated Sparrows. They showed quite a bit of variation from this brilliant fellow above to the drab tan-stripe individuals.

A local nester is the Chipping Sparrow. This one may be moving through or it may be on territory. All I know is that they have been singing in the neighborhood for a couple of weeks already.

Sunday was the first banding session for the spring at Ritter Farm Park. Cold, very windy and spitting snow was what we dealt with all morning. It was a trick just to find a place to set nets where they didn't look like spinnaker sails.In spite of the terrible conditions, there were birds everywhere. Mostly on the ground and along the edge of the nearby lake. It took a while but we did catch s few individuals for the day. Our first catch was this Palm Warbler, one of the early arrivers in the spring.

The Ruby-crowned Kinglets have been here for a few weeks and are still flitting around like mad. We caught two females so no chance to show off the hidden crown patch.

Finally the biggest numbers of warblers were the Yellow-rumped Warbler. Lots of places reporting this species in numbers. They were almost all feeding on floating vegetation along the edge of the lake. There wasn't any insect activity on land and hopefully the birds were getting enough food to make it through the next couple of days.

Other warblers seen included:
Black and White Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Northern Waterthrush
Yellow Warbler

Also had first of the year House Wren, Eastern Towhee, Swamp Sparrow.

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