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"Wow"

5/7/2023


This weekend.... Wow. Not "wow" as in amazing. More of an Owen Wilson in any movie he has done type of "wow" - flat, mostly devoid of emotion, but still conveying a sense of disappointment. Given that today was amazing, how could I still be feeling "wow"?


Well, let's start with yesterday. I have already been posting about how migration is behind. Like everyone else, I am hoping that the birds have just been stalled. The alternative starts looking more like a Silent Spring type scenario, and I would rather not think about that. The weather on Saturday was not exactly ideal. The partly cloudy day turned out to be strongly cloudy until about noon. Then the sun came out. This is the exact opposite of what I am looking for from a photography perspective. It did not really matter. There was almost nothing to shoot. As I drove into Eagle Creek, I could hear, well, nothing. Not exactly true, but close. I could hear local, breeding birds. I did not hear a single pass-through migrant. Pulling into the parking lot at the Skating Pond, I found the trees loaded with warblers. They were all Yellow-rumps. From there, things ticked up a notch or two. Blue-headed Vireo pished in at the parking lot. I had Rose-breasted Grosbeak calling nearby. Amazingly, I had a singing Black-throated Blue. It even flew across to the flooded oaks area and sang for a minute. The shot is rather poor, but... given the day, I will take it. From there, the birding went nowhere. I drove to the marina. Nothing. I drove back to the skating pond. Nothing. I actually drove back to the marina because a Black-billed Cuckoo had been found. While there, a Blackburnian Warbler made an appearance. These birds disappeared, and I drove back to the skating pond. Nothing met me there. I stood around with some other birders and talked about how bad the birding was. Nothing came by to commiserate. Periodically, a Black-throated Blue would sing, but the bird was remaining reclusive. I was not going to waste time trying to track it down in the tangles of honeysuckle. While debating where to head, a Black-throated Blue started to sing from nearby. I called over some other birders, and we spent the next hour trying to follow not one, but three, Black-throated Blue Warblers back-and-forth in the area. Eventually, the sun came out and the lighting was ruined. Three Black-throated Blue should make for a WOW day, but they were, by far, overshadowed by the lack of almost any other migrant.


Sunday was a mixed bag. Heavy rains in the morning kept me home. I watched the radar and planned to be at the park by 9:00 AM, when it looked like the rain would stop. My estimate was off, and I was 15 minutes late; so, I was getting a later start than needed. That was too bad, because the park was packed with warblers. They were finally here. Blackburnian, Bay-breasted, Magnolia, Black-and-white, multiple Golden-winged, Blue-winged, Black-throated Green, Redstart, and Tennnessee. The migrants were finally here in numbers. Of course, there were still plenty of Yellow-rumped and Palm about. I even had a couple of late Ruby-crowned Kinglets. Misses for the day were Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, and Cape May. I know some of these were seen at the park, but I missed them. Oddly, I also only had Warbling Vireo. I did not have any others. Swainson's Thrush were abundant. I also had a Veery mixed in with them. Yellow-billed Cuckoo made an appearance. Least Flycatcher were calling everywhere, and I heard my first Eastern Wood-Pewee of the year. The surprise of the day was a Black-crowned Night-Heron. Things are finally looking up. Wilson's, Canada, and Mourning were also reported at the park, today. So, what of this warrants a mild "wow"? Well, I did not get pictures of any of them. I had hoped the rain would drive the birds lower. They were all high up in the trees, and they had zero interest in coming down lower. Even the times I had something low, I missed the shot. What I got is pretty pedestrian.

It is times like this that I start to question what I am doing. I have little to show for my effort, today, and really nothing that is relevant. I mean, migration is finally happening. I have seen the pictures others have posted to social media, and I wonder what I did wrong. The honest answer is, "nothing", really. It can be hard to see it that way, though. So this is why the day gets a simple "wow".


I came home and added a number of warblers to my new yard list. The day was not a total loss. Looking at the weather, the week looks fairly decent. There will be a lot of movement. Work will have me tied up. Next weekend looks like rain all weekend. Let's hope that changes. I hope to have something better to share with you, then.


Thanks for reading,

Mike



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