Signs of Spring – Bigby giant leap forward!

29 04 2011

Yellow Warbler - Luke Tiller

The hawkwatch had to be abandoned due to fog and thunderstorms Tuesday, so I decided that I might as well spend the time trying to scrape up a few species for my Big Green Big Year. I guess whenever the rain broke off on Monday night a good number of birds decided to make a break for the border but in the end got trapped on this side of the lake. As the fog lifted enough to be able to see more than a few feet in front of ones face it became clear that thousands of Hermit Thrushes were scattered along the lake shore. They occupied almost every patch of viable habitat and were even to be found in seemingly less likely spots (although none in quite as unlikely a spot as the time my friend Joe and I discovered a migrant that was lost somewhere on Cimarron National Grasslands!)

Amongst the abundant migrants were good numbers of Juncos, White-throated and Chipping Sparrows. Less abundant but still relatively common a few Fields and a Fox Sparrow or three. Some slightly more exotically bejeweled fair were also gracing the area including a few dazzling Yellow Warblers and a Black and White or two. I was pleased to pick up on the distinctively sharp chip of a rather nice Pine Warbler before it sang and was treated to my first multi-warbler tree of the season as singleton Palm, Yellow and Yellow-rumped Warblers all worked one of the pine trees out near to Ontario State Parkway. My final warbler addition for the day a rather drab Northern Waterthrush, but in a rather dynamic setting, as it eagerly worked the edge of the rather dramatic lake.

As I turned for home I decided to check out a neighbors feeding area, which has been productive for me since I arrived here and was happy to add both Pine Siskin to the Purple Finches I had already seen in Owl Woods, boosting my tally for both the day and the year. Rusty Blackbirds although not new are always a welcome bonus – especially when one considers the parlous state they seem to find themselves in these days. The only other bird to add to the list today was a skulking Catbird that seemed to have somehow avoided the BBBO banders.  Still 7 new birds on the day and a total of 123 for the year is nothing to be sniffed at. I have a feeling that number may be rapidly growing in the next few days and weeks.

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