Sunday, September 11, 2011

Looking for Warblers and Finding a Wren

Now that the Ospreys are gone, other birds can make use of their platforms.
I was at Cheesequake State Park yesterday morning to look for newly-arrived southbound songbirds. The birding was slower than I expected, with only five warbler species seen: Black-and-White Warbler, Northern Parula, Pine Warbler, American Redstart, and Common Yellowthroat. The Pine Warbler was notable since it was singing when I found it, which is a behavior I cannot recall seeing with Pine Warblers in past falls. It was in its characteristic habitat, the pitch pine forest near the edge of the salt marsh.

A hint of autumn
The clear highlight of the morning was a Marsh Wren that I pished up on the Yellow Trail between the lake and the interpretative center. It was very vocal, chattering in response to stuk sounds I was making with my tongue. Other possible migrants included a Red-eyed Vireo and an Eastern Phoebe.

Perennial salt-marsh aster
Birders thinking of visiting Cheesequake should be aware that there is bow-hunting in the park this fall to reduce the number of White-tailed Deer. I spoke to one of the park staff about this, and from what he told me, it safe to walk the blazed trails between now and November 1 (but not to venture off of them); after November 1, hunting will include all of the park except the areas immediately around the buildings and family campground.