Monday, May 05, 2008

Warbler Weekend

Warblers took over the woods this weekend. I’m sure the overcast skies and fog helped to keep the birds here for a while. Warblers find moist, unsettled weather better for eating than migrating, and they sure found plenty to keep them busy in my woods for a few days.

Yellow-rumped warblers, like the one in my photo today, were the most numerous species, as well as the most cooperative when it came to posing for photos. Yellow-rumps tend to be the most numerous everywhere, from what I’ve always heard. I also had a nice selection of other species, including black-and-white, chestnut-sided, bay-breasted, American redstart (which should be named orange-starts instead), rose-breasted grosbeak, red-eyed vireo, ovenbird and the first catbirds of the year.

I spent as much time outside as I could. A chair on the front deck was a good spot, where I was armed with my binoculars, the camera and occasionally one of the dogs. I took today’s warbler photo from the front deck. This warbler was in a tree just across the driveway. The warblers, in general, seemed to find Baby Dog interesting, and they often approached fairly close to get a good look at her snuffling along in the leaves at the foot of the steps. At least the yellow-rumps did. The others were less cooperative about getting their photos taken.

This is turning out to be a decent year for warblers around the cabin. Last year was terrible; I saw only a few yellow-rumps. I’ve had years where I’ve had 20+ species but those are not the norm. I was also glad to see the catbirds. They are usually a common species here, but last year I only saw a very few. This year I’ve already seen more than I saw in all of 2007. Ovenbirds have arrived, now, but so far are in fewer number than I’m used to.

May 3-4 is slightly early for the big push of warblers in this area. I usually think of the second week of May as the prime time, especially May 8-12. Perhaps I’ll get a nice push then, too, but with climate change making springs earlier than usual, perhaps not. Now that the weather has cleared and the skies are bright blue again, I expect most of the warblers from this little wavelet will continue on north today.


pablo said...

I've despaired of ever learning birdsong well enuf to identify any but the most common, backyard birds. As for seeing them, most of the ones I see in the woods are LGBs (little gray birds).


Ruth said...

I never noticed warblers before I started reading blogs like yours last year. I didn't really know where to look for birds that did not visit my yard or swim in the city parks. The Yellow-rumped Warblers are very handsome, but I think they could be named differently as the yellow rump is not what catches the eye!