Yesterday was a big day for spring migration around my cabin. You won’t find that surprising after I tell you that it’s been grey and gloomy for the 8 days before yesterday and today is already grey and gloomy ahead of storms that will hit later on. Yesterday, however, was spectacular—perfectly clear and warm with little breeze but what there was of that came from the south. In other words, it was really prime for migration, the single good migration day sandwiched between overcast, foggy, rainy or stormy days.
So yesterday evening, I decided to take advantage of the good weather to see what I could. I grabbed a chair and parked myself with my binoculars out in the driveway and just sat. It didn’t take long. First, three red-tailed hawks circled over the trees, screaming at each other but looking content enough as they kettled in the thermals. Then I saw a pair of cormorants, soaring not flapping, which I don’t think I’ve ever seen them do before. They were quite beautiful, and not that high. I had to look several times to convince myself they really were cormorants because of the soaring flight pattern, but I was convinced.
Two birds I wished I didn’t see also made an appearance—a pair of brown-headed cowbirds. These birds don’t build their own nests, they just lay their large eggs in the nests of other, smaller birds, and the true offspring of those nesting songbirds usually end up dead—pushed out of the nest by the large baby cowbirds.
For a while I was joined by a ruby-crowned kinglet, another first for the year. This bird plied the low branches that line the driveway and seemed quite unconcerned that I was nearby, even when it was only 6-10 feet away. Last year my first sighting of this species was April 14, so its timing this year is on schedule.
It was a lovely evening, one to be savored, as it will be a while before the weather cooperates like that again.
My photo today is part of my spring experiment of tracking how vegetation takes over once winter ends. It’s been two weeks now since my original photo. So far, the forest doesn’t yet look very spring-like, except for two things. On the left, which might not be visible in the smaller size of this photo, I can see a few green buds on the shoots of a shrub and the moss on the rocks is definitely greener than at first.