Sunday, April 23, 2006

Warblers Are Back!

When I arrived at the Arboretum this cool Sunday morning, I was immediately surrounded by birdsong, of all types. Blackbirds croaked, sparrows trilled, and warblers buzzed and whistled. Since I had not birded in earnest for about a week, this felt like a dramatic change from weeks past.

I started out in the Azalea Gardens, and walked its paths for two hours. When I first entered the gardens, I heard several birds not heard since last summer: wood thrush, ovenbird, northern parula, and great-crested flycatcher. A little further in, I heard, and then saw, a black-throated green warbler. It quickly became clear that today I was going to see far fewer birds than I was going to hear. My eyes have not yet readjusted to picking birds out from the leaves, and the diffuse light made it hard to see movement in the canopy.

As I progressed up the hill, I listened to the many birdsongs. I really do not mind not being able to see the singers when I know the song. I just enjoy the birds' presence through their music. The woods were filled with yellow-rumped warblers, of course. These will swarm the canopies until their sudden disappearance in May.

On the way down the other side of the hill, I found another patch of bird activity in the midst of the reds, whites, and pinks of azalea bushes. Lots of white-throated sparrows were singing in this area. As I listened to the songs, I thought I heard a hooded warbler. Sure enough, one flew up and moved around on bare branches for a bit before diving back into the azaleas.

I made a brief turn around Fern Valley and the lake, but turned up little new. Across the road from the lake there was a big flock of yellow-rumpeds and palm warblers. One green heron flew overhead. A black-and-white warbler sang from the woods near Fern Valley, rounding out my biggest morning for warblers since last October.


Green Heron
Ring-billed Gull
Mourning Dove
Chimney Swift
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Great Crested Flycatcher
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
Fish Crow
European Starling
House Sparrow
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle