It been two years to the day since my introduction to birding. And what a day it was.....
May 21 2008. My birding mentor Mr. Science (Gary) had called the night before to suggest the weather (sunny and calm) would be conducive to some serious birding, well, I just couldn't say no. It was my first summer of real birding, We headed out early, west to Albert Lea and a state park called Myre-Big Island.
Throughout the entire area were bike and hiking trails heading through prairie, marshland and a big maple-basswood forest.It was here along the willow and brush covered lake shoreline that we were literally engulfed by warblers. They were too fast and elusive to do any effective photography with my little "cheapo" camera so I concentrated on identifying (with the pros help) as many species as possible. Here is what just one small part of the shoreline produced in less that two hours.
Warblers: Canada, Palm, Blackburnian, Yellow-Throated, Wilson's, BlackPoll, Myrtle, American Redstart, Magnolia, Yellow, Black & White and Ovenbird.
Later as we returned to our car, cutting through the heart of the forest, we came upon a vernal pond where both Swainson's and Gray-cheeked Thrushes were located. This area also produced a Great-Crested-Flycatcher.
What a morning!
Yesterday, two years later to the date, we returned to the same venue. This time the results weren’t so promising as we didn’t see a single warbler along the lakeshore. High above in the forest canopy an occasional flycatcher or vireo was to be heard but not seen. An early spring had the maples and basswood fully leafed out much to our chagrin. Later, we hiked a trail thru more open savanna like country. Here we encountered a number of prairie birds and more than 20 Yellow Warblers, but they were the only warblers to be seen. Many people are reporting on the local birding listservs this spring, a huge dearth of warblers here in southern Minnesota. Various theories and explanations usually follow. But truth to tell, nobody really knows for sure what is going on or why. As a long time fisherman, I usually told my fishing buddies when we got "skunked," you should have been here last week. I guess the moral on this occasion would be "you shoulda been here two years ago."
Funny how an area can be so active and then... not! When we went for our morning bird adventure at 0700 on Cumberland Island, it was as if they were all still snoozing! Nothing but Red-winged Blackbirds to be seen. :c)ReplyDelete
What a pretty place. I seldom see warblers here. It would be fun to visit an are where they were plentiful.ReplyDelete
Consistent birders would know the trends from one year to the next, but this year, spring was very early in the north, so maybe migration was early too. Warblers are frustrating for a novice birder, which I think I'll be my whole life. They are usually so high up that you have to look into the bright sky, and once the leaves are half-way grown, the birds hide easily.ReplyDelete
Probably the fact that this year has been so much colder did not help either TB. It is a wonderful place for birds though and I am sure when you go back again, it will be packed with birds (and birders) again.ReplyDelete
Mr. Troutbirder, you have not answered me about this picture of a pup! Is it just an old photo or are you in German Shepherd Puppy Bliss? I dropped by to thank you for you short comment on my recent triology blog, which for some reason was the only one that brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. Maybe that's because you're my most special blogging buddy since you stumbled upon me blogging in the dark and were the very first "stranger" to leave me a comment. I recall it had to do with your own enormous loss, so that makes you also very high on my list of people whose comments are very meaningful to me. Thank you again. Carry on, then, and I shall do the same. dhReplyDelete
OK, this is a PS, since I just scrolled down and read your tribute to Baron (which I hope does not mean he's dead) and see now that the pup pic is of him. This is not your favorite blog of mine so I tend to not come here so often since the words "outdoor" and "activity" are an oxymoron in my mind. So forget the puppy picture scolding and in fact just forget about me totally if you want! As for this comment, perhaps I should just say, never mind! :>)ReplyDelete
A/K/A Klutzy man...I think not. Your posts are eloquent and display a profound sense of wonder and may I say- a bit of the touchy feely stuff that lesser men seem to abhor. If only Baron could talk, I bet he'd say his Papa is a poet. I'm going on a Puffin trip in two weeks, can hardly wait. You and Miss Jayne have hooked me on birding and trying to take THE elusive photo...My heart pumps too fast, my hands tremble when I try to capture images, such an adrenalin rush.
Reminds me of when Hurricane Gustav blew through here a couple of years ago. All of a sudden so many birds were gone. Some of them have since trickled back, but our beloved brown-headed nuthatches are rarely seen at all anymore. Bums me out to think about it, really.ReplyDelete
Yes, I wish I could have been there two years ago ;-) You know...I'm not seeing nearly as many warblers either - except for yellow and common throat. I do think the early leaf out messed things up for us birders ;-) At any rate - it's still fun to look and you sure are a fast learner!ReplyDelete
I am so happy for you! Sounds like you got to see lots of lifers! I have not seen a Warbler yet.ReplyDelete
The wonder of the past and the hope of what is to come. Much like the origianl explorers who always wanted to know what was around the next bend or over the next mountain pass. They all keep us coming back for more.ReplyDelete
I wish you would go back to that bog you posted about before and see if there are any wild orchids. I would love to see photos.ReplyDelete
Wow, you hit the warbler jackpot. Nice to have experienced friends when learning the intimacies of the natural world.ReplyDelete
PS: like other readers, I hope Baron is OK.
Kia ora TB,ReplyDelete
Happy Birding Anniversary. What a fine way to be intrduced to such a fine pursuit. There are places here where you would really enjoy the dawn chorous. Kia kaha.
I'd be more into birding if it didn't entail an early morning. Next best thing is to catch it here and let you do all the work.ReplyDelete