After what seemed like an excruciatingly long winter (or maybe I am just reading too many bird blogs from people out west), good things are finally happening in my corner of the Midwest.
I birded a long stretch of the St. Mary’s River over two days this past weekend, and my birdometer turned satisfyingly. As of today, the motorless list is up to 61 species, and we haven’t even gotten into the thick of migration. In no particular order, here are some highlights (aka the birds I actually got pictures of).
Wood Ducks were pairing off up and down the river, making their pathetic little squeaky call all over the place.
Hermit Thrushes are skulky bastards. I managed to catch one by surprise.
Yellow-Bellied Sapsuckers are not birds that I think of as being particularly well camouflaged, but this one was putting on a convincing act as a peeling scale of bark.
Chipping Sparrows were chipping.
I love it when my first warbler of the year is not Yellow-Rumped. The many large Sycamore trees along the river provide ample room for Yellow-Throated Warblers, and I came across a flock of four birds all jockeying for position in the branches and singing loudly. Yellow-Throated is my favorite warbler for looks, habits, attitude, and because it was one of the first birds I learned to identify by song.
YRWA: Take 1
The only other warbler around was the expected Yellow-Rumped. A nice bird in its time and place, so I tried to get a photo. One thrill-seeking bird sallied for gnats right in front of me, totally oblivious. At one point it dove straight for my face, caught a bug, then banked 90 degrees to avoid a collision. I tried to get a photograph of this obliging bird. Take 1: backlit.
YRWA: Take 2
Take 2: stick in the face.
YRWA: Take 3
Take 3: stick in the face.
Some birds won’t be photographed. I am leagues away from the crushing shots others can pull off, but I at least like my photo documentation not to look like witness protection program participants. Add to these shots about a dozen more hopelessly blurry photos.
That’s all for now. I expect to have some really good stuff in about three weeks, when I will be spending three days camping in the woods on the Lake Erie coast, hopefully up to my eyeballs in warblers. Stay tuned!