May 15, 2007
The Augusta Bird Club held its annual spring picnic on Saturday morning, with mild weather that was almost perfect. As soon as I arrived I heard my first Blackpoll warbler of the season, and then saw one of them a little later. I saw three other avian species for the first time this spring. It was announced that Mary Baldwin College has selected Yulee Larner to receive Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award at the commencement ceremonies this Sunday. The happy feeling of joining with fellow bird watchers was offset by sadness at the news that Patricia Larner, the wife of one of our very best and most devoted bird watchers, Allen Larner, passed away recently. She was a very gentle and special person whose life had been extended by ten years thanks to a lung transplant. I hope this loss serves to remind people of how important organ donations are.
At the Buffalo Springs (field?) Herb Farm on Saturday afternoon, Jacqueline and I saw several Chipping sparrows, Bluebirds, and House finches. The only really noteworthy sighting was a Robin brooding on her nest in plain view not more than eight feet off the ground. On the way back toward Raphine, we came upon this female Wild Turkey walking along the road, oblivious to the traffic hazard. I was glad that it cooperated while I got ready to take a photo, holding the camera up through the "moon roof" so as not to startle it. A little ways further along the road, I noticed a Great Egret (see below) in a pond, in the same place where we saw the miniature horses.
While hiking to the top of Humpback Rocks on Sunday, we saw at least a dozen Redstarts of both genders, and heard several Cerulean warblers, one of which I finally saw -- my first of the season. We saw a pair of Scarlet tanagers in the sun, but I couldn't quite get close enough for a good video shot. The highlights:
We have been seeing a female Hummingbird at the back porch feeder almost every day.
A Magellanic penguin, named for the Strait of Magellan at the southern tip of Chile where the species is found, somehow got lost and ended up thousands of miles to the north in Peru's Paracas national reserve. See BBC.