Photo © Mark Robinson, all rights reserved.
Yesterday I heard an unusual chip note coming from the back yard while I sat here at the computer working. A chip note is a short, sharp call made by birds who are alarmed or cautious. I went to look and saw a small bird next to our pond who was continuously bobbing his tail up and down. There are a few birds that do this, but not many. The one that came immediately to mind was a Spotted Sandpiper, which could show up here, but it looked too small for that. I ran to get my binoculars and had a look: it was the warbler called a Northern Waterthrush. He must have stopped for a drink at the pond. As I watched, he flew closer to a tree branch, had a look at me looking at him, and then was gone, not to be seen again. Wish I’d been able to get a picture. The one above I found online is a beauty.
I didn’t remember ever seeing one of these in our yard before, and checked the yard list. Sure enough, it was a new one to add, something that happens rarely in recent years. Northern Waterthrush, number 108. Last year I added Yellow-Crowned Night-Heron, as described HERE, and also Turkey. Still hoping the flock of wild Turkeys come back some time and that I can get a picture when they do. Before that, a single new entry in 2005: Mute Swan (flying over). One entry for 2002: Indigo Bunting. Those are the only entries on the yard list since 1998. Not that it really matters, but it’s fun to keep track.
Northern Waterthrush can possibly be found in northern New Jersey in the summer, but we only see them here during migration, so this one was probably an early southbound migrant, or possibly a young bird hatched this spring just exploring. It provided a nice nature break in my work day!