Eye candy is on the move - check your trees!
Thursday, 4-23-20 was drippy and cool. Conditions were ideal to show off the red buckeye blooms (Aesculus pavia). I was hoping to catch a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at these, but instead, a 'red bird' dropped into a spicebush (Lindera benzoin) behind them. It was our FOY #64 Summer Tanager! It was seen all afternoon, feeding in different trees.
The following day was perfect for the Carolina Wrens to leave the nest. I counted four little fledglings and watched as they followed one parent across the 'great swamp' over to the brush pile. These are small packages of personality plus.
The following day, Saturday, 4-25-20 brought in four new year birds. Two species were heard only, in the rain. Three Baltimore Orioles were seen in the neighbor's oak across the street, what an eyeful! Sunday was the best day yet with 48 species for the day and 11 new birds for the year. The biggest surprise of the day was this lovely female Cerulean Warbler, just 4.5" long. It came to the bubbler area at 9:11 a.m. I have only had this species one other time, a male on 5-5-07 (see fourth photo). This species is at high risk of extinction, with a Conservation Concern Score of 15. The female didn't stay long and quickly got back to finding food. What a very rare sight!
This Northern Waterthrush first arrived on Saturday, one of two present. A stunning Red-headed Woodpecker was here all afternoon on Sunday. A Blue-Winged Warbler gave us great looks as it probed an 'oddball' leaf pouch, looking for Leaf-tier moth caterpillars, on the smooth hydrangea (Hydrangea arborescens).
White-eyed Vireos used to come to the bubbler often in the early days, but I had never photographed one until this week. Heard calling, "chick-peereo-chick", it was fun to finally get to study one as it stayed for two days. It got in a splash-bath, too. The Blue-headed Vireo also spent time splash-bathing in the bubbler pond. This is typical behavior in vireos.
Our FOY # 82 was the gorgeous Blackburnian Warbler. Always a favorite of birders, they take my breath away with that fire-throat! One of the Baltimore Orioles stayed around long enough for me to get its passport photo. The Great Crested Flycatcher has returned, it has nested here in past years.
The Blue-winged Warbler returned again to the bubbler area, singing loudly, "bee-buzz"! Any bird's call can be heard by searching this site:
The Carolina Wren fledglings continue to move about the woodland. This little bloke wasn't six feet away from me. That's trust.
Tennessee Warblers are one of the plainer birds looking up at them from below, but nicely colored blues and olives from these views. And the Blackburnian Warbler? Unmistakable with that blazing orange throat!
This next bird has been a bit of a nemesis for me this spring. I have heard it calling, loudly, for almost every one of the last NINE days.
Finally, on Wednesday, 4-29-20, I got a visual on it, high in the canopy, feeding on inchworms, of course. At lunchtime, I spotted it below the deck railing and managed to capture a few images of it feeding in different American elms (Ulmus americana). About 5:20 pm, it was seen checking out the bubbler.
A Common Yellowthroat popped out from the ground cover shortly after that on Wednesday. So many colorful birds coming through right now!
Today, the Worm-eating Warbler came to the bubbler. That hasn't happened in 12 years! The gorgeous Blackburnian soon followed. What a nice wrap to the month of April.
To see all the best photos in the last week, start here: Birds since 4-23-20
Tomorrow is May Day!