Saturday, May 05, 2007

Migrant Songbirds at the Arboretum

When I arrived at the Arboretum this morning I was greeted with the fullest chorus of song that I have experienced this spring. Granted, it was not the full dawn chorus, since the Arboretum does not open early enough for that, but it was an active one. Yellow-rumped warblers took the lead in the singing. Their cycling songs resounded throughout the Azalea Gardens and any other wooded spot.

Azaleas in full bloom

The Azalea Gardens and its associated trails held many migrant birds. I heard northern parula, worm-eating, black-throated blue, and black-throated green warblers. Ovenbirds and wood thrushes sang from several locations on the hill, but I never managed to catch sight of either. A black-and-white warbler, red-eyed and yellow-throated vireos, a scarlet tanager, and a Baltimore oriole deigned to make themselves visible. As I walked down the south side of Mt. Hamilton, I met other birders who drew my attention to a buzzy, ascending song. After listening for a while, I concurred with their identification of it as a cerulean warbler.

The full complement of tyrant flycatchers are back. I saw most of them around Fern Valley and its nearby meadows. Those meadows had some other interesting birds. Indigo buntings were present in good numbers. Deep in the lilac meadow there was a female blue grosbeak. I thought I could hear a male singing nearby, but never found him. A pleasant surprise was a bobolink singing from the top of a baldcypress next to the Capitol columns. While I was watching the bobolink, two orchard orioles whizzed by in the midst of a hormone-driven sparring match.


Black Vulture
Turkey Vulture
Bald Eagle
Red-shouldered Hawk
Ring-billed Gull
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Chimney Swift
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Acadian Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Great Crested Flycatcher
Eastern Kingbird
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Carolina Wren
Gray Catbird
Northern Mockingbird
Brown Thrasher
Wood Thrush
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Carolina Chickadee
Tufted Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Blue Jay
American Crow
European Starling
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
American Goldfinch
Northern Parula
Black-throated Blue Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Worm-eating Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
Northern Cardinal
Blue Grosbeak
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Orchard Oriole

Additional note: Last night I spotted a Louisiana waterthrush at the Indian Museum. The water level in the "wetlands" is down, so it would not surprise me to find some shorebirds passing through.