Spring Fall-Out

The forecast could not have been more perfect.  The pesky warm front that had been hung up south of our region, was poised to move through late Monday, giving a strong push of south winds during the overnight hours.  As a bonus, a line of strong thunderstorms moved through in the pre-dawn hours, creating near ideal conditions for the first spring fall out of the year.

Danika and I had already planned to go birding that morning and as we were walking out the door, I got a phone call from Rich Guthire who said there were 3 Vesper Sparrows feeding near his banding station in Coxsackie.  Now I had picked up Vesper Sparrow, just a couple of days before on Easter, but Danika still needed it for the year, so off we went.

When we got there, there were no Sparrows or Guthrie in sight, but we could hear a number of birds in the thick bushes and trees along the edge of the grasslands.  Ovenbird, Black-throated Green Warbler, Yellow-Rumped Warbler, Palm Warbler, Song Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, Gray Catbird, Northern Cardinal, Yellow Warbler and Prairie Warbler all began to appear and sing around us.

Rich then made his way over to us, carrying with him a female Red-winged Blackbird, whom Danika quickly became acquainted with.  Soon after the thick morning mist began to burn off and almost instantly, Turkey Vultures, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers and Broad-winged Hawks began flying north overhead.

-I was amazed at all the detail and colors there were on the bird when seen close up.  The best part was that Rich let me hold and release her, and she was a perfect lady sat pretty, nibbled your finger tips, then flew off with out so much as a thank you very much.  When we told our nine year old she was horribly jealous and has vowed to hunt Rich down next time shes out birding with us to pester him into letting her try- Danika

<Red-winged Black Bird Female, and a Tree Swallow in flight with a pale band.

We looked for the Vesper Sparrow’s in vain and Rich showed us a bit of a surprise in his nets with a gorgeous Swamp Sparrow, when we decided to head down to Vosburgh’s Marsh/ 4-mile point in search of more spring birds.

Bird life was busy at Vosburgh’s as well, Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Black-and-White Warbler were clearly singing, with Canada Goose, Pied-billed Grebe, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Mallard, American Black Duck and Wood Duck on the north end of the marsh.

At the south end of the marsh, we added a nice male Northern Shoveler, Yellow Warbler, Northern Parula and Blue-winged Warbler.  That brought our total number of warbler species for the morning to 10, since there were almost none of these reported even the day before, they clearly arrived overnight.

Since then the more common migrants have continued to arrive, such as Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore and Orchard Oriole and a number of warblers and vireos, but the real neo-tropical migrants and the boreal breeders are still lurking to our south…


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