Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tanager, Shorebirds, Warblers

Spring migration is continuing, although it seems slower this year than the last 2 years. That might be because we've had more steady south winds and fewer storms and fronts this spring, conditions that cause birds to stop less for breaks on their way north. But the migrating birds are out there -- they're just harder to find. I found this first year male Summer Tanager near the new flood control wall just downstream of the last dam on Lake Creek. Usually in our neighborhood if you see a red bird it's almost definitely a Northern Cardinal. But during the spring and summer a red bird just might be a Summer Tanager. You can see how this one hasn't gotten all its red color yet. It was singing when I took this picture.

I had the most success finding migrating shorebirds. I didn't find as many as last weekend, but I did find Least, Pectoral, Baird's, White-rumped, and Spotted Sandpipers. Most were on the creek just downstream of the T&C playing fields, but there was a small group of Baird's and Pectoral Sandpipers on one of the unused soccer fields. Surprisingly, almost nothing was in the new drainage pond near the Parmer Lane bridge where I found the Phalaropes last weekend. I think there's a little too much water in it from recent rains to make good shorebird habitat today.

Warblers have been few and far between this spring, but on my way back I found the first Canada Warbler I've seen this spring. I got a quick but good look at it in the patch of woods near the last dam on Lake Creek. This morning I also was able to find Wilson's, Yellow, Chestnut-sided, American Redstart, and Common Yellowthroat. I briefly heard a Bell's Vireo singing on Stillforest, another first for this spring. And last weekend a neighbor pointed out a Broad-winged Hawk nest to me on Broadmeade. I got this picture of one of the parent hawks near the nest as I neared home. Much more common is the Red-shouldered Hawk in our neighborhood. We're just barely in the breeding range of Broad-winged Hawks.

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