Sunday, March 07, 2010

Signs of Spring

Yesterday felt very spring-like, even if the calendar says otherwise. The sun was out, and the temperature was the warmest it had been in quite a while. Even the moderate breeze was not chilly enough to suppress the feeling of spring.

At Sandy Hook we were greeted by a Red-winged Blackbird singing from a power line – the first of many on the peninsula. At the first stop alone there were four males singing for territory. Song Sparrows too were singing, and each male seemed to perform a different variation of the basic song. Other singers included multiple Northern Mockingbirds, a Northern Cardinal, and a Carolina Wren.

With the exception of Black Ducks, waterfowl were relatively scarce. I am not sure if this is because the wintering birds have already moved north or because prolonged freezing temperatures earlier in the winter drove the usual winter flocks south. Small flocks of Black Scoters and Long-tailed Ducks dotted the ocean, along with a few Horned Grebes. On the bay side, there were Brant, Red-breasted Mergansers, and Bufflehead. I saw only one loon, a Red-throated Loon on the bay.

Yellow-rumped Warblers were very active, calling in the bushes and flying overhead. A very large flock of Cedar Waxwings was circulating around the boy scout camp area. A Red-tailed Hawk was circling in the same area. I am not sure if this was a resident bird or a northbound migrant.