Saturday, May 3, 2008

Lots to Report

Wow, I have a lot to report from yesterday and today. Friday on the hike-and-bike trail near the new footbridge I was trying to follow a small bird in a tree directly over the sidewalk. I lost the bird but found these 2 juvenile Great Horned Owls staring down at me! There is no telling how many walkers and bikers and joggers have passed right under these guys. Look how fluffy they are but look at those huge claws!

A few weeks late, many of the migrating songbirds I've been expecting to find are finally showing up. That same morning nearby I finally got this decent picture of a male Common Yellowthroat. This warbler lives in marshy areas in the reeds and cattails. But during migration I usually find several of them in the dense low brush of the floodplain property.

This morning I was on Chester Forest near Broadmeade and saw this Red-shouldered Hawk almost hovering in the strong north wind. I got my binoculars on it and as I watched it folded its wings and dove head-first directly at me. I was looking into its eyes as it grew bigger in my field of view, finally pulling up 5-10 feet above me. It perched on a nearby tree and started calling, and I got this picture. That's an experience I'll never forget.

Later this morning I was in the patch of woods along Lake Creek near the last dam when I found this Magnolia Warbler in the low brush. This was the second one I've seen in the past couple days. It's one of the more dramatically patterned warblers and is always fun to find in the spring. Here are some other neat migrants I've found in the neighborhood since Friday:
  • I've seen 3 American Redstarts around. These black and red birds are extremely active and fun to watch as they flit around fanning their tails and gleaning bugs from the leaves.
  • I found the first Warbling Vireo I've seen in the neighborhood this season.
  • This morning I got a quick look at a falcon -- possibly a Peregrine Falcon -- over Lake Creek.
  • A few Indigo Buntings and Painted Buntings have been around the more lush areas of Lake Creek along the hike-and-bike trail. So far I have only seen the less dramatically colored females of these species.
  • A few Clay-colored Sparrows are moving through the area.
  • This evening I found a single male Bay-breasted Warbler near my house. I was very excited to find this bird since for some reason I have not seen a male in over 10 years! It's a striking bird.
There are many family groups of Carolina Chickadees moving around in the canopy of our great neighborhood trees right now. The chicks make a distinctive raspy begging call and you can watch the parents catching bugs and then feeding them. Also sometimes there are 1 or 2 migrating warblers following the group around, so its always worth watching them for awhile. It's how I found the Bay-breasted!

1 comment:

Susan Seabolt said...

A birding friend in Northern Michigan theorizes local resident birds escort migrants through their woods during spring migration.