Sunday, March 18, 2012

Early Spring at Negri-Nepote

When I got to Negri-Nepote Grasslands Preserve yesterday morning, the place was so foggy that I was not able to see across the field. The murky fog made it difficult to identify birds by sight. Fortunately, most species have begun singing by now, so birding by ear was possible. In fact, for the first half of the walk, that was the main way I was picking birds out. The first species I heard was American Robin; by the end of the walk, I had recorded an estimate of about 70 in the reserve. Surely the number was even higher than that given the volume of robin songs and chuckles.

Sparrows were plentiful and very vocal. I quickly located Song Sparrows, White-throated Sparrows, and Dark-eyed Juncos in the brush along the side of the path. There were a lot of each species, all around the refuge. I thought I could hear a Field Sparrow, but I did not confirm that until later, after the fog started to lift, when I found one singing. At about the same spot, I found a Fox Sparrow and later heard a second one sing a few times on the other side of the field.

The pond contained mostly Canada Geese but also a pair of Ring-necked Ducks. Some spring migrants are already arriving. I heard one Eastern Phoebe and saw several Tree Swallows. Many of the latter were checking out the nesting boxes.