Friday, May 30, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End

Prothonotary Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 8May2014
On May 8, the parade of warblers finally began in earnest with the first big push of warblers into southern Wisconsin. Prior to that, April had ended in a lackluster fashion in which an unfavorable weather system kept the influx of spring migrants at bay. We birders kept birding, hoping, watching the weather and "birdars," feverishly awaiting the warbler waves. Then, BOOM, May 8, the onslaught of the warbler parade commenced as a remedy for our deprived senses. Seeing the delightfully colorful songsters light up the trees and shrubs was nothing short of pure gold. I enjoyed some intimate moments with an array of migrant songbirds coming down to feed on insects near the creek where I and many others flocked to witness the extravaganza. I was afforded some crushing photo opportunities where not only my lens, but soul seemed to connect with these avian delights. It's been both exhausting and exhilarating.

Each spring migration holds its own uniqueness.  This year, due to cooler temps and a late spring, migration was highlighted by low feeding warblers amidst a minimally foliaged landscape. The delayed leaf-out lended to stunning unobstructed views. In addition I engaged in more social birding as opposed to my typical solitary routine. My relationships with birder friends blossomed or re-kindled after lying dormant during winter months. Additionally, I found myself experiencing all aspects of this migration with the acute feeling that each moment could be my last...

With each passing wave I was left ravaging for more birds.

However, I have realized I could never sustain the sort of power birding and minimal sleep that inevitably envelopes my life in May.

So perhaps there is a silver lining to the fact that ALL GOOD THINGS MUST COME TO AN END.


At the time of this writing I find myself at the close of May with a compelling sense of loneliness. Nearly all of the migrants are long gone. And like the ephemeral wildflowers of spring, my relationships with people, also appear to be senescing. As with anything in nature, it's all so temporary...the birds move on and people do too. The parting is bittersweet. I hold on dearly in my mind's eye and heart to all that has transpired.  Here these recent memories will endure until they are replaced or fade with the gift I know as "time."

What follows are some of the cast of characters that danced with my spirit and exalted ordinary to extraordinary during the past few weeks...

The traditional first warbler of spring, the Yellow-Rumped male...

One of the early mini-warbler waves on April 22, produced several Pine Warblers along the Emma Carlin Trails in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Forest (Jefferson County)...

Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers were more than accommodating this spring. Some will stay in the area to breed.

 This Worm-eating Warbler visited Fox Park Sanctuary (Waukesha County)  for few days in late April...

Black-and-White Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy (Dane County) 3May2014...

Cape May Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 8May2014...

Blackburnian Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 9May2014...

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 9May2014...

Tennessee Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 9May2014...

Northern Parula, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 9May2014...

Scarlet Tanager, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 9May2014...

Black-throated Blue Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy on 12May2014...

Magnolia Warbler eating a crane fly, Pheasant Branch Conservancy on 12May2014...

Black-throated Blue Warbler, female, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 14May2014

Canada Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy on 14May2014...

Chestnut-sided Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy on 14May2014...

Magnolia Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy on 14May2014...

Singing Veery, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 14May2014...

American Redstart, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 14May2014

Blackpoll Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 14May2014...

A disapproving look from a Wilson's Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 13May2014...

Black-and-White Warbler (male), Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 20May2014...

Bay-breasted Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 20May2014...

Northern Waterthrush, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 20May2014...

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 20May2014...

Looking for the Connecticut Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, 20May2014...


I already find myself missing it...


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