Tuesday 3 April 2007

Cool Birding on a Hot Day

Tomorrow is supposed to be a nasty sleety-snotty day, so I thought to myself I might as well go to the Arb for a short lunch break while the sun is still out and we still have the chance of enjoying some spring weather.
And so I did.
All of the above: go to the Arb and enjoy the spring weather.

As I only went there for an hour or so the bird list is neither long nor prolific and actually quite lame and lousy in the light of a Mountain Bluebird that's hanging around near Port Huron right now, a roughly 2-hours drive from here.
But what the hay, here's what I saw:

Both Pine Warblers are still around and I managed to obtain some very fine looks at one of them. The one most easily seen is always singing high up in the pines, so you only see it from below from where it looks only yellow and white and the blue bit that is making it such a great bird is missing, but if you know it's there, it is still a great bird, even if you can't really see the blue.

The best areas bird-wise at the moment are the bushes adjacent to the central grassland and here I was pleased to find a Winter Wren (only my second), 2 Hermit Thrushes, my first pair of Brownheaded Cowbirds this spring and a small group of Northern Flickers.
I eventually crossed the grassland to reach the spot where Fox Sparrows had been so dependable within a group of Dark-eyed Juncos last week. Well, no luck with the Fox Sparrows but the Juncos were still around as was another Hermit Thrush. Turning my eyes off the ground, my heart skipped a few beats when I spotted a single bluebird, but upon closer inspection, it tuned out to be an Eastern Bluebird - so close and yet to far...
I must say however that the Eastern Bluebird is one of the few species where every observation feels like a lifer. It is an amazing combination of pigments, that one. And it is a friend: while watching it and following it with my binoculars, it lead me to my first Field Sparrow of this spring and showed me a female Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that I otherwise would probably not have seen. Following the female, I eventually came upon a male Sapsucker as well and with a Hairy calling in the distance and Downies everywhere, this was yet again a 5-woodpeckers-day.
Upon leaving the park, a small bird party mostly of Golden-crowned Kinglets and Black-capped Chickadees hosted two Brown Creepers as well and just before reaching my apartment, the female Peregrine was yet again flying around and observing the Turkey Vultures distrustfully.

Well, it might not have been a day with a state-wide rarity, but the Arb yet again managed to deliver enough to make me a happy birder and to re-charge my batteries to deal with the weather that's ahead of us now.

I'm just glad I am not a hummingbird.

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