More Spring Arrivals

Sunset Bridge, Belleplain

More spring migrants are arriving daily. Went for a walk in Belleplain State Forest this morning. Above is the bridge on Sunset Road, a popular birding site there.

East Creek

The bridge passes over East Creek, seen above, a slow, quiet flow of dark water containing lots of tannin from the pine needles and holly leaves deposited in it.

Yellow-Throated Warbler

Yellow-throated Warblers were in. I heard several, and saw one at the bridge, though not as well as in this photo by John Schwarz. Pine Warblers, Black and White Warblers, Ovenbirds, and Eastern Towhees were also present and singing, establishing territories.

Gnatcatcher Nest

Lots of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were also there. I couldn’t get a photo of one of these tiny, fast-moving birds, but I did spot what looks like a recently-built nest, above, though it could be a refurbished one from last year. They decorate the outside with small pieces of bark and lichen from the trees, to help it blend in. No one sitting on the nest, yet, though.

White-eyed Vireo

Walking north on a side road from Sunset, this White-Eyed Vireo was singing, its call sounding something like “spit-seeifIcare-spit”. Not a great picture because of the branch in the way. Further up, at another small bridge over East Creek, there was a Louisiana Waterthrush singing loudly near the road. I had a seat on the concrete outflow pipe and waited patiently, scanning the creek edges. After a few minutes, the bird emerged, walking along the brushy edges of the creek. I tried for a picture, but got only a blurry lump. My small Olympus digital has a 10 power zoom, but even so it’s very tough to get pictures of tiny birds.

Chipping Sparrow

Here’s one that turned out pretty good, a singing Chipping Sparrow, found near the lake campsite entrance, where I drove next.

Turkey

And as I drove out of the Forest on Pine Swamp Road, I caught this Turkey crossing the road. Not a migrant, a resident, but the first one I’ve seen this year.

Green Frog

Back home, this Green Frog was sunning himself at the edge of our small pond. There’s a Bullfrog, too, who arrived this spring from parts unknown, but I haven’t been able to get a picture of him yet.

The third weekend in April is when I usually put out our Hummingbird feeders, and I did that yesterday morning. By afternoon, a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird was at the feeder, and has been feeding regularly since. Haven’t gotten a picture of him yet, either, but I will.

Heard a Prairie Warbler singing on my afternoon walk through the neighborhood yesterday, so that’s another new arrival. And Friday night we heard a Chuck-Wills-Widow calling just as the last light was fading, so they’re back, too. We’ve had them in and around our yard every year since we moved here, but I’ve only ever seen them in silhouette against a darkening sky. They’re night birds, eating insects on the wing, and singing often through the night. We like to hear them as they say their name over and over, but some of our summer guests don’t.

Spring migration is on, more arrivals to come!

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