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May 2019
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May 6, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Field trip to Dowell's Draft

(It's a busy time of year for birders, and I'm struggling to get caught up with blog accounts of my recent nature excursions, so this post will only cover my activities through the end of April.)

On Saturday April 20, two other members of the Augusta Bird Club (Dan Perkuchin and Linda Corwin) joined me on a field trip to Dowell's Draft, in the western part of Augusta County. This is a trail and Forest Service fire road that provides excellent habitat for songbirds, but happens to lie in the path of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Fortunately for us, construction activity in this sector has been suspended for several months. Temperatures were mild, and the skies were clear. The only drawback with the weather was the occasional strong breeze. As we approached the trailhead in my car, we heard multiple Louisiana Waterthrushes. Soon after we began hiking, we saw a Pileated Woodpecker flying about 50 yards ahead of us, and then heard a nearby Ovenbird**, the first of the year for me. After several minutes of looking, we finally spotted it. We also heard the first of several Blue-headed Vireos* that day, but not until the latter part of our trip did we finally see (and photograph) it. While crossing the clear-cut swath, we heard a Northern Parula** singing in the distance, and then we heard a Prairie Warbler** fairly close. Those were the two main target birds, which I identified as breeders in that very same area for VABBA-2 last year. Within a couple minutes we had excellent views of the Parula (possibly two), and a so-so view of the Prairie Warbler. Further along the trail, we heard and finally saw a Louisiana Waterthrush*, but it proved to be very skilled at eluding our camera lenses. We also saw a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in that area, and heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the distance. On the way back we saw more Northern Parulas and a Black-throated Green Warbler**.

* = the first I have seen this year
** = the first I have seen or heard this year

Altogether, 27 bird species were observed at Dowell's Draft. (Thanks to Dan Perkuchin for tabulating our observations on Next we stopped for a short while at nearby Braley's Pond, but the hoped-for Eastern Phoebes that nest there every year were not seen. We did, however, see another Louisiana Waterthrush, as well as a Muskrat foraging near the stream. All in all, it was a wonderful day of birding! Here are the highlights of our day:

Montage 20 Apr 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Northern Parula, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Prairie Warbler, Louisiana Waterthrush, Blue-headed Vireo, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Ovenbird, at Dowell's Draft on April 20.

Brief interlude

On Bell's Lane on April 22, I saw several good birds, such as White-crowned Sparrows, Purple Finches, and a Yellow-rumped Warbler. Three days later I saw my first Great Crested Flycatcher of the year, as well as Purple Finches, an Eastern Kingbird, and a Brown Thrasher there.

I didn't intend to go birding on Friday, April 26, but the unusual sight of a Swainson's Thrush and Indigo Bunting (both first of the year) in the bushes out back got me motivated to head out to Bell's Lane. Penny Warren had marked on the ABC kiosk chalkboard that she had seen a Solitary Sandpiper there, and sure enough I spotted it in the mud puddle where the cows often gather. On the extended portion of Bell's Lane (north of the bypass), I saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler and and Black-and-white Warbler (FOY), as well as a Ruby-crowned Kinglet.

Big Spring Day 2019

On Saturday, April 27, I participated in the Augusta Bird Club's Big Spring Day, covering four areas in the rugged woodlands of western Augusta County that were assigned to me, with a separate eBird checklist for each one:

It was fairly quiet around Braley Pond early on, but I did get an excellent closeup look at a Worm-eating Warbler, my first of the year. I continued along the trail upstream from the pond and eventually came across a couple places that were buzzing with warblers, just like last year. I saw Black-and-White Warblers, Ovenbirds, Northern Parulas, Louisiana Waterthrushes, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and at least eight Ruby-crowned Kinglets, some with their heads "ablaze" with red. At one of the clearings, I briefly had a great view of a Broad-winged Hawk flying away, but couldn't get a photo. As I was departing that area, I spotted (!) two Spotted Sandpipers at the base of the dam.

Along the Dowell's Draft trail nearby, I met a man who was looking for Ruffed Grouse; he told me where the males typically "drum" during mating season, but unfortunately I was unable to detect their presence. I saw most of the same warbler species as before, and heard a Prairie Warbler, singing in the meadow to the west of the trail head. (I did not see or hear a Prairie Warbler in the clearcut area where it had been during our field trip the week before, however.) Around an abandoned shed in that meadow, I saw two Eastern Phoebes, the only flycatchers I observed all day.

Next I went to Ramsey's Draft and heard a Northern Parula, a species which breeds there on a regular basis. Climbing the Road Hollow trail (which heads toward the crest of Shenandoah Mountain and the Confederate Breastworks) for about 3/4 mile, I heard and saw some Black-throated Green Warblers and eventually Blackburnian Warblers (FOY) as well. I was counting on Scarlet Tanagers and Red-eyed Vireos along that trail, but neither species was seen or heard. I did get a great view of a Blue-headed Vireo, however, after having heard them in numerous locations earlier in the day. Back at the picnic area as I was about to leave, I saw several Chipping Sparrows and American Goldfinches, and heard American Redstarts (FOY) singing in the trees.

Finally, I paid a visit to Chimney Hollow trail and almost immediately spotted a Louisiana Waterthrush in a nearby tree. That area was mostly quiet, however, and while I did hear and eventually see yet another Northern Parula, there were no Acadian Flycatchers as I had hoped. Other big "misses" for what was otherwise a very successful day: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, White-breasted Nuthatch, Downy Woodpecker, and Red-bellied Woodpecker.

** = the first I have seen or heard this year

This photographic montage shows the highlights of my Big Spring Day:

Montage 27 Apr 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Black-throated Green Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, Pine Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Worm-eating Warbler, Northern Parula, Blue-headed Vireo, Spotted Sandpiper, and in center, Louisiana Waterthrush. (At Braley Pond, Dowell's Draft, Ramsey's Draft, and Chimney Hollow, April 27.)

Enlarged images of most of those birds can be seen at: Wild Birds yearly page.

Altogether I observed a total of 181 birds, including birds I saw along Route 250 and back in Staunton, accounting for 41 species.

Ending April with a bang

On April 30 I spent a nice morning at Betsy Bell Hill in Staunton, where I heard and/or saw four species for the first time this year: Scarlet Tanager, Red-eyed Vireo, Wood Thrush, and Cape May Warbler. There were lots of warblers in the tree tops, but with the poor lighting conditions, it was very hard to identify them. Yellow-rumped Warblers were most prevalent, as usual this time of year. To my surprise, I heard a Red-breasted Nuthatch, but didn't see it.

But the real fun started on Bell's Lane, where I was dumbfounded to see a Black-billed Cuckoo as soon as I got out of my car! Fortunately for me, it stayed put while I greedily took some photos -- my first ever of that species. It had been years since the last time I saw one of those. This was where the marshy stream parallels the road toward the southwest. In the distance I saw a Baltimore Oriole (FOY), and in the dense thickets I saw a Northern Parula, a Yellow Warbler (FOY), and a Cape May Warbler.

Montage 30 Apr 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Wood Thrush, Scarlet Tanager (M), Black-billed Cuckoo, Cape May Warbler, Pileated Woodpecker (M), Northern Parula (M), and Swainson's Thrush. (At Betsy Bell Hill and Bell's Lane, April 27.)

For additional photos, see the Wild Birds yearly page.

May 12, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Nats get roughed up on the road

Until the middle of last month, it seemed that success was close at hand for the Washington Nationals. If they could just fix their bullpen... After losing the first game of the series (once again) against the San Francisco Giants, they then beat the visitors twice. In the April 17 game, they belted four home runs and had a comfortable 9-2 lead going into the ninth inning, whereupon the bullpen collapsed right on schedule; they held on to win, 9-6. The Nats then hit the road but lost the first two of three games against the Marlins in Miami. Heading west to Denver, they lost two of three games against the Colorado Rockies, marking the last time they had an even .500 record. Since April 23, when the Nats were only 1 1/2 games out of first place, things have gone from mediocre to just plain awful for the Nationals.

Back in Washington on April 26, the Nats lost two of three games against the San Diego Padres, the latter two being extra-innings affairs. Manager Dave Martinez used closer Sean Doolittle in the 9th inning, even though the game was tied 2-2 and hence not a save situation. In the 20th [OOPS: 10th] inning, the Padres scored six (6) runs, off of Wander Suero and Justin Miller. Arghhh... Howie Kendrick homered in the bottom of the 10th, but it didn't matter as the Nats lost in a most disheartening fashion, 8-3. But thanks mainly to the "youngsters," the Nats bounced back the next night: Juan Soto, Victor Robles, and Carter Kieboom (just called up from the minors) all homered, and the score was tied 6-6 after nine innings. In the bottom of the 11th, Matt Adams led off with a towering walk-off homer and thus the Nats avoided being swept at home. Then the St. Louis Cardinals came to town and beat the Nats in three straight games. It wasn't a sweep, however, as it was a four-game series, and sure enough the Nats eked out a 2-1 win on Thursday evening (May 2) to conclude a rather bleak home stand on a positive note.

The next day the Nats headed up to Philadelphia, and once again lost the first game of the series, 4-2. Saturday's game started as a pitchers' duel between Patrick Corbin (Nats) and Jake Arrieta (Phillies), but it turned into a slug-fest in the latter innings. Brian Dozier, Kurt Suzuki, and Victor Robles all homered, taking advantage of the cozy dimentions in Citizens Bank Park. The Nats won that game, 10-8, but then they lost the finale on Sunday, 7-1. The very next day (May 6) the Nats played in Milwaukee, and once again lost the first game of the series, even though Max Scherzer threw ten strikeouts and only gave up one earned run (plus one unearned) over six innings. So much valiant effort going to waste... On the following day, Stephen Strasburg three 11 strikeouts but gave up four runs, which was four more than his own team scored. The bullpen allowed two more runs. In the finale of that series, on Wednesday afternoon, Jeremy Hellickson only lasted four innings and the Nats lost, 7-3. It was the first time this year that the Nats had been swept in a series.

The final leg of the Nats' brutal road trip took them to Los Angeles, and miracle of miracles, they actually won the first game of the series! It was only the second time in 13 series thus far this year that they have done so. Patrick Corbin threw another brilliant game for the Nats, striking out eight batters over seven innings in a 6-0 victory. A three-run homer by Howie Kendrick pretty much sealed the deal in that game. But the next day, the extraordinarily ineffective veteran starting pitcher Anibal Sanchez was relieved during the fifth inning after giving up three runs. Final score: Dodgers 5, Nats 0. On Saturday, the fiercely competitive Max Scherzer went seven full innings while only giving up two runs, but was in line for the loss after being replaced in the lineup in the top of the eighth. That's when the Nats batters woke up all of a sudden. The bases were loaded whn Juan Soto came up to bat, and he worked a long count before finally smacking an RBI single for the Nats first run. Anthony Rendon then came up to bat, and hopes were high for the Nats' #1 slugger, who recently returned from the Injured List. But "Tony Two Bags" is apparently not back to 100% just yet, because he swung at some bad pitches and struck out. That left it all up to newly-acquired Gerardo Parra, and guess what? He launched a homer several rows deep into the Dodger Stadium pavilion in right center field, the first grand slam for the Nats this year! (See the Washington Nationals page.) That gave Max Scherzer the win -- only his second win of the season. In the final game of the four-game series, the Dodgers' Hyan-Jin Ryu outdueled Stephen Strasburg, and actually had a no-hitter going into the eighth inning. Once again, Gerardo Parra was a "hero" of sorts, hitting a double for the Nats' only hit of the game [in the top of the eighth inning]. (The Nationals have never lost in a no-hitter, and the last time that happened in franchise history was in 1999, when the Yankees no-hit the Expos.) [With the tying run at the plate, Dave Martinez made another managerial goof when he let Michael A. Taylor bat rather than put in Howie Kendrick, Victor Robles, or Yan Gomes as a pinch hitter; they all have much higher batting averages. In the bottom of that] inning, Corey Seager put the icing on the cake for the home team, hitting a grand slam against Kyle Barraclough. (He has been one of the Nationals' more dependable relief pitchers this year, so that was a turn for the worse.) Final score: 6-0. [Thus the Nats ended a very rough road trip, winning just three of ten games.] frown

And so, at the one-quarter mark of the 2019 season, the Washington Nationals are now 16-24, which is 7 1/2 games behind the Phillies. Injuries are partly to blame, of course, but the Nationals did just fine in spite of injuries in years when they ended up winning the division. Something fundamental is really wrong with this team. The Nats payroll is among the highest in the majors right now (fourth, I believe), but they just aren't performing the way they are supposed to. Complaints about the lack of leadership are growing, and I don't see how Dave Martinez can finish this season if things don't get better soon. Why are the team's owners so patient with him? Don't they want to admit they were wrong to hire an untested guy as manager rather than the proven (and more costly) Bud Black? The Nationals have a long road ahead as they try to climb out of fourth place in the NL East, and perhaps somehow make a run for the postseason. There's no reason why a team with so much talent can't do so.

Some early-season surprises

After six full weeks of baseball, there have been a number of early season surprises. Did anyone really expect the Minnesota Twins or Tampa Bay Rays to be leading their respective divisions? Not that I'm aware. The New York Yankees have been plagued by injuries, but nevertheless have climbed to within a half game of the Rays, and they will probably take first place in the days to come. The Seattle Mariners were one of the hottest teams for the first few weeks, but they have seen cooled off as the Houston Astros have resumed their place atop the AL West. The Boston Red Sox recently climbed above .500 for the first time this season -- a rather humbling performance for the 2018 World Series champions.

In the National League, the East Division was a tight, four-way race for most of April, but the Philadelphia Phillies have now built a 3-game lead. Bryce Harper actually got booed by the home fans after striking out a few days ago; he currently is tied for fourth in the majors with 51 strikeouts. He is batting just .229 with 7 home runs. In the Central Division, the Milwaukee Brewers were very strong in April, but have since fallen behind the Chicago Cubs. Much like the Red Sox, the Cubs were playing terribly in the early weeks but have bounced back nicely. Out west, the L.A. Dodgers are ahead by four games, as the San Diego Padres, who led the division for much of April, have cooled off considerably. Manny Machado added spark to the lineup, but his actual performance has fallen short of expectation: .252 average and 8 home runs.

"Red Socks" in the White House

Championship sports teams customarily are greeted by the President at the White House, e.g. the Washington Capitals hockey team, but with the Trump administration, such traditions are sometimes dispensed with. Most of the Boston Red Sox recently made the pilgrimmage to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but manager Alex Cora and a several other players boycotted the event. Someone in the White House mistakenly wrote "Red Socks" in an official communique, which kind of makes you wonder... See

Stadium capacity changes, 2019

For the first time in at least a few decades, and perhaps ever, there were (apprently) NO changes at all in the seating capacity of any major league baseball stadium this year. In contrast, last year (see October 3) there were seven cases of capacity changing by at least 1,000. I go by the official attendance figures shown in the box scores as published by the Washington Post, where capacity is shown in parentheses. MLB franchises seem less forthcoming aboutproviding capacity data on the various MLB web pages, compared to years past.

Busch Stadium II

Busch Stadium II update

Since I have been paying greater attention in recent months to the details in the roofs of various stadiums of the "cookie-cutter" era (see April 16, when I updated the Riverfront Stadium diagrams), I made an update to the Busch Stadium II diagrams. Whereas before (2014) I attempted to convey the unique arched-support roofs of that stadium in a rather crude way, the diagrams now render more faithfully the actual appearance. While I was at it, I made a few other corrections and enhancements. The front edge of the upper deck is recessed by a couple feet, while the lateral walkway and entry portals in the rear part of the lower deck have been moved forward several feet, and are thus now (partly) "exposed" in all the diagrams. Those entry portals are much bigger than the were before, and the small sets of stairs from the lateral walkways to the aisles between the sections are now shown for the first time. Finally, the profile has been refined as well.

May 16, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Springtime short-distance travels

Last year I didn't get around to summarizing my travels in this blog until August 9, and I'm trying to do better this year. So here are a few quick items about short-distance travels that I have taken (mostly with Jacqueline) during spring. The photos below are the choicest ones of those posted on the Chronological (2019) page. On January 6 I went to Highland County and Bath County with a few others from the Augusta Bird Club, with scenic highlights at Lake Moomaw and the historic bath house in Warm Springs. On March 10 Jacqueline and I went to the Highland County Maple Festival, briefly entering West Virginia northeast of Blue Grass. (We missed that festival the year before.) As usual, we bought a quart of maple syrup and a few other souvenir and craft items.

Maple Festival 2019 in McDowell

Maple Festival 2019 in McDowell, March 10.

On May 4 Jacqueline asked me to go with her to meet with her sister in Richmond, and I seized the opportunity to do some birding in the nearby Dutch Gap area along the James River. (See the separate blog post on birding.) Just like the last time I was there (June 2016), I saw many Zebra Swallowtails. I recently learned that the caterpillars of those butterflies feed on Paw Paw leaves, and indeed I saw many Paw Paw trees in the swampy area through which I hiked. The trail was very wet in places, and at one point it was flooded, so I had to give up and head back.

Boat landing at Dutch Gap

Boat landing at Dutch Gap, southeast of Richmond, May 4.

On our way home, we drove north along Route 1 through south Richmond, where evidence of poverty and strong racial feelings abounds. As we approached downtown Richmond, I asked Jacqueline to take photos of the city skyline as we crossed one of the James River bridges, and she did a good job. Then we drove past Virginia Commonwealth University, which gets bigger every time I see it, and I was struck my a sort of surrealistic mural showing four people with their eyeballs detached, apparently imagining the same dream. I should try to find out more about that mural. Next we entered historic Monument Avenue just a few blocks to the west of VCU. The afternoon lighting was not ideal as we headed west, or else I would have taken more photos.

Jefferson Davis statue on Monument Avenue

Jefferson Davis statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond, May 4.

Finally, on May 6 I led an Augusta Bird Club field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and went back to the same area the very next day with some other birders. At one point I saw an azalea bush in full bloom, and it almost seemed to be begging me to take this lush, scenic picture, looking southeast toward the Big Levels area:

Azazleas in the Blue Ridge

Azazleas in the Blue Ridge, May 7.

May 16, 2019 [LINK / comment]

Ten Days In May:* Bird migration season peaks

The weather was very good for the first ten or so days of May, enabling us birders to fully enjoy the peak of migration season. It was raining from Saturday until Monday (May 11-13), and so before things get busy again, I'd better get recent bird events down for the record.

As mentioned in the travel blog post of today, on May 4 Jacqueline and I drove to the Richmond are, and while she was with her sister, I did some birding in the nearby Dutch Gap area along the James River. Whereas the previous time I was there (June 2016) I had a hard time getting good looks (or photos) of my main target bird, the Prothonotary Warbler**, this time I heard and then saw one within 50 feet of the parking lot! There were several more after that, and I got much better photos this time around. I also heard and then saw a White-eyed Vireo**, I heard and finally got my first clear looks at a Red-eyed Vireo** this year. Toward the end of my walk, I heard what I thought was an Indigo Bunting but then realized it lacked the buzzy tone of that bird. Then I remembered that Yellow-throated Warblers** have such a song, so I played it on my Audubon iPhone app, and within a minute or two, one came flying in my direction! Hallelujah!! It was the first time I had seen that species since I was in Florida three years ago, and the first time I have seen one in Virginia in almost ten years, I think. (My records are out of date, but I'm working on fixing that.) Besides the birds in this photo, I also saw a few Ospreys, including one in a nest across the river, as well as Double-crested Cormorants**, a young Bald Eagle, and over one hundred Black Vultures.

* = the first I have seen this year
** = the first I have seen or heard this year

Montage 04 May 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Prothonotary Warbler, Yellow-throated Warbler, Red-eyed Vireo, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, White-eyed Vireo, and (in center) Indigo Bunting, at Dutch Gap on May 4.

Field trip to Blue Ridge Parkway

Three days later, on Monday May 6, I led an Augusta Bird Club field trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, and was joined by ten other members of the club. Driving the lead car in a caravan of four vehicles (later five), I paused by the Swannanoah golf course to take a photo of a Chipping Sparrow, and was astounded that it turned out to be one of my best-ever shots of that species. Our first major "hot spot" was by the telecommunications tower a couple miles south of the Afton Inn. We heard and/or saw a wide variety of warblers, including my first Hooded** and Cerulean Warblers** of the year, and heard a Black-throated Green Warbler, a Red-headed Woodpecker, and a Red-breasted Nuthatch in the distance. There wasn't much going on at the Humpback Rocks visitor center, so we continued to a stretch of road at Mile Marker 8 with just enough grass to park safely. There we saw a Yellow-throated Vireo**, a couple Goldfinches, and a flock of small birds that turned out to be Pine Siskins. That was a big surprise! The final stop was at Hickory Springs overlook, near Mile Marker 12. There we saw more Hooded and Cerulean Warblers, as well as a Chestnut-sided Warbler** There were a couple "misses," but all in all, the trip was a great success!

Montage 06 May 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Yellow-throated Vireo, Cape May Warbler, American Redstart, Black-and-White Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Indigo Bunting, and (in center) Cerulean Warbler, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, May 6.

The very next day, Ann Cline and I returned to the same area, in hopes of getting better photos. Smart move! Once again we saw Hooded as well as Cerulean Warblers at multiple locations. At one point I spotted an Osprey flying high overhead, and managed to snap a quick shot before it was gone. I saw one of the Red-headed Woodpeckers that we had heard the day before, but only briefly from a distance. Soon we met up with two other birders, Pete and Faye Cooper, and later on encountered Marshall Faintich, a renowned bird photographer who lives on the east side of the Blue Ridge. At one point Pete and I had great closeup looks at two male Cerulean Warblers that were fighting over territory, flitting about the shrubs right next to the road. It was a great photo op, and I got my best-ever photos of that species. (They tend to stay high in the tree tops, and only rarely do I see their pale blue backs.) We had better views of the Pine Siskins than the day before, and I had a brief look at a female Indigo Bunting; they tend to stay out of sight during breeding season.

Montage 07 May 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Black-and-White Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, American Redstart (1st-year male), Hooded Warbler, Pine Siskin, Ospreay, and (in center) Indigo Bunting (F) and Red-headed Woodpecker, on the Blue Ridge Parkway, May 7.

Thursday morning Jacqueline and I went for a walk along Bell's Lane, and I was amazed to see a Yellow-throated Vireo in a nearby tree, not very high up. I glimpsed a Common Yellowthroat**, Chestnut-sided Warbler, and American Redstart in the wetland trees, but could only get mediocre photos of them. I returned in the afternoon, after the sun came out, but didn't see much other than an Eastern Kingbird until I reached the northern portion of Bell's Lane. There I had very good views of a Yellow Warbler and a Baltimore Oriole, both males.

Montage 09 May 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: American Redstart (1st-year male), Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-throated Vireo, Indigo Bunting, Eastern Kingbird, and Yellow Warbler, on Bell's Lane, May 9.

Finally, on Friday May 10 I had to take care of some personal matters in Weyer's Cave, after which I decided to drive a bit farther north, up to Hillandale Park on the west side of Harrisonburg. I heard a variety of songbirds as soon as I left my car, and I soon saw a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Cerulean Warbler, an American Redstart, and best of all, a Bay-breasted Warbler**! [All were fairly high in the trees.] After that, however, bird activity quickly waned. There were many Common Grackles and Robins, a female Purple Finch, and an Eastern Towee, but not much else. So I headed to Cook's Cove Arboretum in Bridgewater, hoping to see the Eastern Screech Owl** that has been reported there. The first nest box I saw had a squirrel poking its head out, to my annoyance, but the second box was the owl!! I also heard a bird singing in the trees nearby, and soon had a pretty good photo of a Common Yellowthroat. Thus ended an especially rewarding first ten days of the merry, merry month of May!

Montage 10 May 2019

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Common Yellowthroat, Red-tailed Hawk, Bay-breasted Warbler, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Screech Owl, and American Redstart, at Hillandale Park and Cook's Cove Arboretum, May 10.

For additional photos, see the Wild Birds yearly page.

* This is the second time I referred to a movie in the headline of a birding blog post; on April 20 there was a sly reference to a song from the movie The Producers.

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