Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Lingering Blackpoll Warbler

Yesterday morning I was at Trenton Marsh. This is a good place to visit in fall and winter since the freshwater tidal marsh (the northernmost along the Delaware River) attracts migratory dabbling ducks and other interesting birds. Waterfowl are already starting to gather in the marsh. However, they do not seem to be at their peak numbers yet. I suspect that the relatively warm fall* allowed a lot of birds to stay further north. Water birds in the marsh included about 50 Gadwall, along with smaller numbers of American Wigeon, American Coots, Ring-necked Ducks, Green-winged Teal, and a lone Wood Duck.

The most surprising sighting was a first winter Blackpoll Warbler. It was foraging low in the shrubs along the main entrance trail (the one running from the parking lot between the impoundments) in the company of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. I had some good looks at the warbler since it would sit or hop out in the open, but it would hop back behind branches whenever I had my camera in position to take a photo. Other songbirds included a Winter Wren and a half dozen Golden-crowned Kinglets.

Some of the trees still had their foliage, so the view across the marsh was colorful.

In some impoundments the water level appears to be maintained by a beaver dam. Several mounds in this section of the marsh appeared to be beaver lodges. This lodge was the largest of them.

Finally, this tree, which I think is a Red Maple, has an unusual shape. I am intrigued that the trunks grew apart from a common base but then rejoined a few feet further up the tree.

* Worldwide, this October was the warmest ever recorded; in the lower 48 United States it was the eleventh-warmest October.