May 14th – Getting Into Gear…..Finally!

Here’s the mother of all mothers: this Killdeer has been sitting on her eggs for the past couple of weeks – through freezing nights, rain/sleet/snow/ice pellets. One of the blessings of this pandemic is that the parking lot has been virtually empty enabling this bird to tend to business. -KMP

I was beginning to wonder if wintery weather was ever going to end and the migration would move into full swing. There’s been hints of it – grosbeaks and orioles began to arrive at Ruthven about a week ago – but today it was quite evident. Not only were the grosbeak and oriole numbers swollen by many new arrivals but a variety of warblers (10 species) showed up today as well. I banded 38 birds but our species count for the day hit 68. This is the time when birding is REALLY fun.

Banded 38:
1 Mourning Dove
1 White-breasted Nuthatch
1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
1 Wood Thrush

At last! The haunting song of the Wood Thrush emanated from Rick’s Rill Valley. -MMG

3 Gray Catbirds

Gray Catbirds, after a slow start, are starting to show up in numbers. -KMP

4 Nashville Warblers

Nashville Warbler. -KMP

1 Yellow Warbler
1 Black-throated Blue Warbler
1 Western Palm Warbler
1 Common Yellowthroat
3 Rose-breasted Grosbeaks
1 Indigo Bunting
4 Chipping Sparrows

Reddish crown, black and white striping through the eye – Chipping Sparrow. -MM

2 Eastern White-crowned Sparrows

All the Eastern White-crowned Sparrows we’ve been catching for the past week have been showing big fat loads. They’re ready for the nest phase of their journey. Northern Quebec? Labrador? -KMP

1 Red-winged Blackbird
8 Baltimore Orioles
4 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 68 spp.

Local feeders have been busy and with a variety of birds; in this case (from the left) female Rose-breasted Grosbeak, male Baltimore Oriole, male Northern Cardinal, and male White-breasted Nuthatch. -FJS

Beavers have been making their presence felt in the Ruthven flats this season; I’m hoping they will thin the walnuts there like they did several years ago. -KMP

What a gorgeous blue! Virginia Bluebells. -KMP

A very washed out female Cape May Warbler was enlivening the spruce trees in front of the Mansion. -KMP

Myrtle Warblers were the most common warbler species around the site – especially plentiful along the river. -KMP

Always a treat: Northern Parula – also in the Mansion’s spruce trees. -KMP

These Red-bellied Woodpeckers (male sticking his head out) have found a really good nest cavity. -KMP

Male Magnolia Warbler. -MM

Maggie’s Magnolia Warbler likeness – a great job! -MM


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