The second week of May in this area is the primest of the year’s prime times for birding. It’s the time of year when warblers and songbirds move north. The summer residents appear and settle in. So if there’s any one time that I want to get out and bird, it’s now. So I did.
I didn’t do anything exotic. I just made a run down to Brunner Island along the Susquehanna River to see what was going on there. Truthfully, I wasn’t expecting all that much because near-gale force winds rocked the mountain on Saturday and weren’t ready to fully dissipate by Sunday. But I was pleasantly surprised, if not overwhelmed, by the new species I found for the current year.
As much as I think of my Roundtop bird list as my “real” list, it’s fun to occasionally do a little birding off the mountain. Brunner Island is along the Susquehanna River, so the habitat there is a lot different than on Roundtop, though it’s still in the same county. Here, shorebirds and gulls are common, unlike up on the mountain. And even warblers are generally more common, though some years I’ve had some wicked good waves of them at the cabin.
Roundtop doesn’t have a swamp or a river, but Brunner Island has both. I saw a pair of orchard orioles in the swamp meadow area, and Canada warblers, blue-gray gnatcatchers, cedar waxwings, indigo buntings, a green heron, among others on my one-hour trip.
Back up on the mountain, I heard the first eastern pewee this morning, so the full roster of summer residents have now arrived. The little pewee probably wasn’t expecting to arrive to frost, but I had a little of that this morning too. I kind of hope that’s the last of that until October.