Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Almost Summer

This farm, seen from a distance as I skirted the edge of the forest, already has the look of summer about it. Summer’s haze is just starting to build up in the distance. This farm, like many in my area, was built in roughly the Civil War era.
At the cabin, I still haven’t seen any fireflies. Normally I associate Memorial Day with their appearance, so I’m starting to feel their arrival is a bit late. Temperatures are to reach into the summer range today and later this week, so perhaps that’s all that will be needed for them to appear.
I found my 50th bird species for May at Roundtop this morning. A lovely Black Vulture was sitting on the edge of the dumpster when I went to toss my garbage this morning. I’ve been looking for one of them for weeks and can’t believe I didn’t see one before today. I tried to get a photo, but the bird was too wary and lifted into the air as soon as I stuck my arm with camera out of the truck’s window. I’m just happy I’ve broken last year’s May bird total, which was a pretty dismal one. The mountain hasn’t had a good warbler flight for three years now, though this mountain has never been a warbler hotspot. In earlier years of living here, I often had 10 species in a day. Lately, I haven’t even had half that in a season.
I keep track of bird species that I see by month and that creates an interesting bar graph, with May the biggest month of the year. The number of species I see in April and June are usually identical, a few species less than the total I see in May. During July and August the totals drop still more. This is likely due to two reasons—the birds are nesting and tend to be less "showy" or vocal then, and it’s so hot I likely spend less time birding then. In September my totals bump back up a bit, though not to the levels of April, May and June, before falling off still more each month through the end of the year. So far in 2007, I’ve had just two months where I saw more species than last year—March and May. The higher March result is likely caused by an early end to winter. My February result was the lowest ever—when winter finally kicked in, almost the only birds I saw were my feeder birds.
Each birding year has its own trends, its ups and downs, its differences from one year to the next, even with common species. This year, for some reason, indigo buntings are in very short supply. But I have tons of Baltimore orioles, several rose-breasted grosbeaks and more Eastern kingbirds up on the slopes than I ever remember seeing before. It’s the differences that keep my record-keeping interesting.

1 comment:

Cathy said...

Yea you found your 50th bird. I saw three turkey vultures on my evening walk. Hope the pictures came out.