Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Migration Station!

As I mentioned in a recent post, we've had quite a number of spring migrants come in over the last few days, and they just keep comin'! My yard list for April is fast approaching 50 - I'm only 1 away... can I get 1 more species with 1 day left in the month?! Seems reasonable, as I've added multiple species per day for the last 4 days. Still waiting for Indigo Bunting... also, any number of warblers could stop through...

I can barely get anything done when I'm at home because I keep chasing down new bird songs - "Who's that? Who says that? I can't remember who makes that sound! Where IS that doggone bird?!" Trying to ID the birds by ear is such fun, like a game! Birding by ear is important right now because you often hear the bird before you see it, and even when you do see it, it might be so far up in the trees that it may be difficult to make an ID just on color or field marks alone... sometimes the bird's song seals the deal.

So some of the exciting new arrivals I've seen and/or heard since last Friday include:
  • Wood Thrush
  • Ovenbird (haven't seen it yet, but I hear them all over the woods!)
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird
  • Red-eyed Vireo
  • White-eyed Vireo (heard only)
  • Scarlet Tanager
  • Summer Tanager
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Cerulean Warbler
  • Black-throated Green Warbler (heard only, just yesterday evening)
  • Rose-breasted Grosbeak (first seen yesterday evening)
  • Great Crested Flycatcher (heard only)
I should mention that, according to my field notes from the last few springs, many of these birds are all right on schedule, arriving around the same time they've arrived in years past.

We are very fortunate to live on such a wooded plot of land and that so many of these birds are attracted to our woods - I count my blessings every time I hear or see one of these beauties. I've never found evidence of any of them actually nesting here, but I've spent all of my birding time over the last few years just getting to know the birds themselves (field marks, songs, calls, habitat preferences, etc). I figure finding and knowing nests will come in due course.

Unfortunately lots of these birds hang out pretty high in the trees, so I haven't been able to get many good shots of any of them. Here are some photos, some from this year, but most from previous springs, that represent some of our common spring migrants:

Brown-headed Cowbird (male)

Brown Thrasher

Ruby-throated Hummingbird (female) - check out the tongue!

Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)

Summer Tanager (male)

Just a reminder to any readers from Ohio and neighboring states: the Birding by Ear weekend at the Wilds is just 1 month away!! I have no idea if there are any spaces left, but if you're at all interested, call or email them to find out! (There's a link over on the sidebar.) I'd love to see some of you there!


Nature As Is said...

Wow!! Ok I definately need to move so I can get some cool shots like you!! In B.C we get lovely birds don't get me wrong but not the colorful variety that some areas get.....hmmmmm...very very lovely

Ginnymo said...

Wow!! Great shots of these birds Heather!! I wish I'd see more different ones but I guess I'm left out this year. I might see a Grosbeak later on. I did see an Indigo Bunting just one time. You are lucky!!! Happy birding!!!

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Wow! Heather what great bird shots. I love the hummingbird one with its tiny tongue out. I have not seen a tanger yet. How pretty!

Kelly said...

Wow! You're so lucky....a Summer Tanager. I've yet to see one. You are getting really nice birds....

NW Nature Nut said...

Those Rose-breasted Grosbeaks sure are spectacular! I wish they were in my yard!

Heather said...

Crista - Well, I'm jealous of your Crossbills and Bushtits! And you get all those nice boreal birds... if I'm lucky I'll see a Red-breasted Nuthatch every few years! But thank you, and I'm glad to share my birds with you!

Ginnymo - With migration seemingly in full swing, you might see some good birds coming by during the month of May. Keep your eyes peeled, and happy birding to you, too!

Lona - Do you get many hummingbirds in your garden? They mostly come to my feeder, but sometimes they visit my flowers (they especially like the Fuschias that I put out every year).

Kelly - I'm waiting to see that Summer Tanager show up on your year list. With all the other great migratory birds you've been seeing, it can only be a matter of time!

Michele - The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are a treat for us, too. They only seem to stay around for a few weeks, and we don't get them every year. (I'll trade you a Scrub Jay for a Rb Grosbeak!)