May 7, 2016 [LINK / comment]

More migrants visit Bell's Lane

The weather has been very wet for the past week or two, but there have been a few intervals of clear skies or at least no rain, and I took advantage of them. It all started on Monday, May 2, on an Augusta Bird Club field trip to Bell's Lane led by Penny Warren. We were excited because of reports of Golden-winged Warblers and Blue-winged Warblers there on Sunday, but alas they had already left. (My eagerness to see a Golden-winged Warbler is what prompted my visit to Cook's Creek Arboretum in Bridgewater last Saturday.) Overall, the number of birds seen on Monday was below expectations, but we did see some unusual migrating species, most notably the White-eyed Vireo seen below. Also, a Baltimore Oriole was in the tree tops. Afterwards, most of us went over to Betsy Bell Hill, where we heard a Wood Thrush, Ovenbird, and other migrating species, but didn't see much other than a Scarlet Tanager or two.

White-eyed Vireo

White-eyed Vireo; I used this photo in the Augusta Bird Club bulletin.

The very next day (Tuesday) I returned to Bell's Lane and saw my first Indigo Bunting of the year flying across Commerce Road. I also saw a first-of-year Common Yellowthroat, but couldn't get a photo. The highlight came at the upland portion of the pastures, where I heard a distinctive gurgling song with a metallic tone, and soon saw several male Bobolinks flying around. After a few minutes of patient stalking, I got in good position for a photo, with ideal sunlight.


Bobolink (male)

Finally, on Wednesday morning I went back to Bell's Lane, and soon saw a few Yellow Warblers and Yellow-rumped Warblers, two species that were both singing constantly. Further along, I heard and then saw Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and Common Yellowthroats, as well as a Baltimore Oriole. But the highlight of the day was when I heard a distinctive, complicated song, which I correctly deduced was a Canada Warbler. After playing his song on my iPod Touch, I lured him into my vicinity and got some very good (if not well-lit) photos. On my way out, I caught a glimpse of a Green Heron flying across the road.

Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler (male)

As always, there are more photos to see on the Wild Birds yearly page, including montages. Today, I'm going to the Blue Ridge Parkway, in hopes of making up for a bird club field trip that was cancelled due to rain on Thursday.