May 15, 2006 [LINK]

Blackpoll warbler

After the steady rain we had yesterday, today turned out quite nice though a bit cool, and I managed to do a brief walk behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad late this afternoon. I heard and then saw several high-flying Cedar waxwings and a couple Towhees, and I also heard but did not see a Scarlet tanager. The best part was when I spotted a male Blackpoll warbler for the first time this season. He was shaking off his feathers in the bushes after bathing in the stream. They are black and white, with a golden tinge on the edge of their wing feathers, much like a Pine siskin. With the sun in back of me, it was perfect lighting conditions, probably the best view of that bird I had ever had. They are usually the last species of warbler to migrate north, so this is a sign that the peak season has already passed.

The number of goldfinches in our back yard has dropped dramatically in the last few days, and just about the only ones we see now are females.