Monday, May 8, 2017

First Rush

After seeing the recent image of all the dead Blackburnian Warblers in Galveston, TX,  I wasn't expecting to find one this morning and actually fearful I would go without seeing one this season. To my delight, I stumbled upon one in my best feeding flock of the day at Pheasant Branch Conservancy (Dane Co, WI).

I arrived to the creek corridor late morning when birdsong was rather subdued. My intent was to rendezvous with my birding pal, Dale over some good birding. But my timing was a bit off . As the sun emerged from the clouds and temps warmed, the forest became alive with insects. Just before 11:30 bird activity increased and a mid-day chorus broke out, lead by a Northern Parula with supporting roles by Black-throated Green, Nashville, Yellow-rumped, Black-and-White and Blackburnian Warblers.

Bird photography was a challenge today. Many of the birds were high in the canopy frenetically foraging on insects. In addition, my photography effort was minimal. I was more focused on seeing the birds than getting photos.

 A rare moment when a Northern Waterthrush is not obscured in shady tangle of branches and roots.
This Northern Waterthrush kindly obliged my friend Trudy and me with an eye- level private concert
The parula was the bird who alerted me to the flock that gave me my first rush of the season. I climbed a small hill to get a visual on the bird and a whirlwind of birds unfolded. As I glassed the canopy, I found bird after bird and heard a swell of various songs. It felt as if the birds were dropping from the sky, appearing out of nowhere. Where there had been no movement, suddenly I found three Orange-crowned Warblers, two Nashville Warblers, followed by a Ruby-crowned Kinglet flitting by...Scan right, there's the Blackburnian again. Movement to the left...Oh cool! Magnolia Warbler... He quickly snuck in, eyed me up and disappeared just as quickly.

Magnolia Warbler, Pheasant Branch Conservancy, Dane Co, WI 8May2017 

And just like that within a matter of 5-10 minutes it was over. The birds had dispersed along the corridor and I was reminded of the addiction that is spring migration.

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