June 18, 2005 [LINK]

Summer morn on Bell's Lane

A cool front has passed through these parts, making it a delightful morning for a stroll along placid Bell's Lane. Since this is the peak of songbird breeding season, we heard the songs of a dozen or more species, a veritable symphony. One odd melodic song in particular caught my attention. Jacqueline spotted a female Orchard oriole, and I soon located the singing male as well. It was the first time we had seen that neotropical migratory species since February.* Today's highlights:

* In Costa Rica, that is. smile

Bridge-Tunnel to reopen

The commission responsible for the 18-mile long Bridge-Tunnel that spans the entrance to the Chesapeake Bay decided to reopen three of the islands to bird watchers, but only on a limited basis. (There is a restaurant and fishing pier at one of the islands, but the other three islands are normally deserted.) From now on, amateurs will be permitted to visit the other three islands as long as they get advance security clearance and pay $50 an hour for police escort. See Washington Post. It is sad to have to put up with such restrictions, but unfortunately, that happens to be one of the most vital strategic "chokepoints" in the continental United States. Norfolk is the home port to aircraft carriers and dozens of other combat vessels, and you don't want a bunch of "weirdos" with telescopes and cameras hanging around. Jacqueline and I went there to watch birds with my brother John in November several years ago (before 9/11). Our most unusual sighting was a young male Baltimore oriole, a forlorn "straggler" who was supposed to be in the tropics by that time of year.