May 3rd – It Never Gets Boring

Red sky in the morning…..will often indicate that migrants may be present as they come to ground and feed to better deal with the coming precipitation. -DOL

Spending your time at one place, day after day, might sound tedious. But if you’re attentive and watching how things unfold, it can be not only interesting but downright exciting. Especially at this time of year! I firmly believe that you’re given only so many migrations and I don’t want to waste any of them. Every one is different. This year, April was a tough slog – cold and wet – but, even so, the small changes, the influx of new species and the leaving of others was happening. One day there were no kinglets – and hadn’t been since the beginning – and then they were common. First the males, then the females. Maybe a little later than usual, like the White-throated Sparrows.

A female Baltimore Oriole – the first oriole of the season at the Farm. -DOL

Of course, the arrival of long-distance migrants is always inspiring. And if you’ve been “at” a site day after day, you know exactly when those birds arrived. Today there was an influx of new arrivals, assisted in last night’s flight by a light southerly wind. And with poor weather on the horizon it made a lot of sense for some of them to land and feed and find shelter from the coming inclement weather. I encountered 8 new species for the season: Warbling Vireo, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Bobolink, Baltimore Oriole, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, and Northern Waterthrush. For the day I counted 50 species.

Two of the three goslings can be seen in tow. -DOL

And while these long-distance fliers were arriving, some looking to set up territories and start nesting, some resident birds were finishing off their nesting efforts. I saw a Common Raven fly over carrying food – a sure sign that there were young ravens to be fed. But the most exciting event was the emergence of the young geese from the nest about 30 meters from the banding hut door. I’ve been watching this effort for over a month – the female at one point sat determinedly on her nest under a blanket of snow. But today I was lucky to be in the right place at the right time: 3 very small goslings jumped into the water to follow their parents into the pond where they were quickly ushered into the emerging reeds on the far side. A magic moment.

The young ones getting their first taste of the wide world. -DOL

We had our best banding day so far:
Banded 39:
3 Tree Swallows
2 Blue Jays
2 House Wrens
2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets
1 American Robins
1 Chestnut-sided Warbler
6 Western Palm Warblers
2 Northern Waterthrushes
3 Common Yellowthroats
1 Northern Cardinal
1 Rose-breasted Grosbeak
3 Swamp Sparrows
6 Red-winged blackbirds
1 Baltimore Oriole
2 American Goldfinches

ET’s: 50 spp.

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