Sunday, May 1, 2011

May 1 2011

It is a beautiful sunny May 1st here in Chapel Hill. I was up in Washington, DC for 4 days visiting with a very long time friend (35+ years). As a result, I was not able to bird our land the past few days, so it was good to get back out there this morning. The top photo is of a male common yellowthroat working hard to attract a mate, and the bottom photo is of a male white-eyed vireo also making his presence known (click on photos to enlarge).

Having heard both a summer tanager and a yellow-billed cuckoo this morning, I can report that all of our summer breeding birds have now returned. It was generally a very birdy morning. At one point I was hearing simultaneously the songs/calls of the following birds--wood thrush, acadian flycatcher, hooded and black-throated blue warbler, ovenbird, blue jay, yellow-billed cuckoo, tufted titmouse, and cardinal. I saw one of our barred owls, and flushed a pair of wood ducks off our pond. I also saw and/or heard this morning pine warbler, La waterthrush, northern parula, red-eyed vireo, scarlet tanager, indigo bunting, ruby throated hummer, red-bellied and pileated woodpeckers, mourning dove, american goldfinches, house finches, brown-headed cowbirds, Carolina wren and chickadee, eastern phoebe and hermit thrush.

What I did not have this AM was any kind of migrant fall-out such as warblers, blue-headed vireos or rose-breasted grosbeaks passing thru on their way to the mountains. There has been some big excitement here in NC this week because the state's first ever cassin's sparrow was found down near Pinehurst. The speculation is that this bird, which lives in the southwest, was blown in with all the storms that have been coming thru the south. Another western bird--a female chestnut collared longspur--also was found this past week at Fort Fisher. I am not a state lister so I have not "chased" after either of these birds.

I will be heading up to Magee Marsh in Ohio later this week to join some birding friends to take in the spring migration there. 2 days ago a very rare Asian duck--a garganey--was found near Cincinnati, OH. I am hoping that it will stay around for a few more days so that I can see it when I go to Ohio. Stay tuned!

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