Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Warblers and no Warblers

Black-throated Blue Warbler, Ridge Hill Reservation, Needham, MA
Over the weekend and into Monday, warblers everywhere. I woke up to the sounds of Northern Parula and Black-throated Green warblers in the branches outside my bedroom window. After my daughter left for school, I rushed down to Ridge Hill, to my perfect warbler spot in the picnic area behind the garage. I was not disappointed. A firehose of warbler song (as documented in the video below).

Nothing particularly rare, but a nice diversity of representation. Including this Black and White Warbler, who was the most congenial when it came to photographs.
Black and White Warbler, Ridge Hill Reservation, Needham, MA
So when I had the opportunity to get out early today (thanks to a 5:30 a.m. airport drop-off ) I chose to head up to Plum Island and hit Hell-Cat. The punchline? No warblers, except for the local breeders (so a nice assortment of redstarts, actually). Apparently they had all lifted off last night. A lone Wilson's Warbler, spotted by the Marsh Loop, was the only evidence I could find that migration was still a thing.
Marsh Trail
But Plum Island always has gifts to give. Such as the White-crowned Sparrow that just happened to be wandering around the dike. (A consolation for some sad warbler seekers).
White-crowned Sparrow
And the Wild Turkey.
Wild Turkey
There were plenty of sandpipers and yellowlegs and willets around so I thought I might make a shorebird day of it. Down to Sandy Point.
It was cold and windy. Bitter hand-chilling cold. For a while, it was just me and the Piping Plovers.
Piping Plover
And the Tree Swallows.
Tree Swallow on the beach
Yes, Tree Swallows. In the late summer, swarms of Tree Swallows are a common feature of Plum Island, as it is one of their staging areas. I've never seen so many in the spring. Thousands of them. Seemingly knocked down by the high winds. But taking advantage of their situation by going after sand insects. And bothering everyone else. For the willets and sandpipers, something akin to Hitchcock's The Birds.

And when I returned home, what did I find? Warblers, singing from treetops everywhere. Apparently warblers everywhere but Plum Island.

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