Saturday, April 5, 2008

Warblers, Herons, Hawks

Even though I got a late start, I still had a very enjoyable morning birding the neighborhood. I stuck to the streets today, spending some time on Stillforest, Broadmeade, Sherbourne, and Shady Oaks. There were lots of mixed foraging flocks of warblers and other songbirds. Almost all were singing at one time or another. The most interesting for me were 2 Northern Parulas and 2 Black-throated Green Warblers. Here's one of the Black-throated Greens that I found on Shady Oaks.

On Stillforest there were several Green Herons in the trees. I got this picture of one of them. Some of these handsome birds are passing through on their way north and some of them will stick around and build nests. They make a strange and very distinctive sound that will be common to hear on this street soon.

I saw many hawks this morning. Our resident Red-shouldered Hawks are very active and vocal, and they are starting to nest. I found one nest near Stillforest and Chesterforest. I also counted 14 Broad-winged Hawks. These are similar to Red-shouldereds but are migratory, and today was the first time I've seen any this year. By mid-morning I was seeing or hearing 1 or 2 Broadwings soaring up in the sky every few minutes. I even watched one dive at a soaring Red-shouldered several times. These hawks actually migrate in large flocks called "kettles" and we might get to see one over the neighborhood soon. I got this low resolution picture of one Broad-winged, showing the dark border around the sides and trailing wing edges, and the wide bars on the tail.

I talked to several neighbors while I was out today -- some I already knew and some I met for the first time. This was almost as fun as the birding. We have a nice community here.

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