I Hope You Like Grosbeaks

5/3/2022


Finally got some free time for an update. Birding last weekend did not go as planned. I would like to call it technical issues, but it was pure human error. Things got better on Sunday. Sunday evening - things got much better.


The forecast for Saturday was a lot of rain. It was the only day I had to get a decent amount of birding in; so, I took a chance and headed down to Monroe Co. The decision almost paid off. I pulled into Morgon-Monroe SF, and I immediately heard a Hooded Warbler. I hopped out of the car and pulled my camera from my pack, turned it on, and looked into the viewfinder to check the settings. Big blinky message - No Card in Camera. No problem. This is why I carry a little emergency pack with a spare battery and card. Nope. I had not repacked it from vacation yet. It was still sitting at home. I went to a nearby store and bought some overpriced cards and headed back.


By now, it was getting a bit late. I mean, it is still 9:00 AM or so, but it is not early. Birding was still good. I found a Black-throated Blue almost immediately. I heard a lot. I just could not get eyes on a lot. The weather was perfect. The sky was overcast, but it was perfectly bright. It was almost everything I could ask for. I just needed some birds. The day dragged on, and my luck did not improve. Fed up, I headed home. I shot two birds the whole day. A Blue-winged Warbler and an American Redstart. I guess I spent all my luck on the great weather.


Sunday, I headed across town to Eagle Creek Park. I did not have long, and I was out a bit late the night before; so, I needed a place relatively close. Not sure when dinner plans lasting until midnight became late, but here we are. I got to the park, and it was quite overcast. It brightened throughout the morning, though. I parked and walked. This is how I like to bird. I just roam until I hear something, and then I try to track it down. My first bird was a Wood Thrush perched about 30 foot up a tree. He would not pish down; so, I moved on. My second bird was a very curious Northern Waterthrush. Right as it came out of cover, a car came by. Things were getting a bit deja vu, suddenly. Migrant-wise, things did not go super well. I did hear a Golden-winged Warbler bee-buzz-buzz-buzzing about, but I never laid eyes on it. I had another Northern Waterthrush that I was so focused on pishing out that I almost missed seeing the Black-and-white Warbler that nearly landed on my head. I finally noticed its crazy spitty-sounding chip coming from nearby. Solitairy Sandpiper standing in a puddle in the road was a nice find. I heard the usual park breeders calling; including my first of year Eastern Wood-Pewee. Hooded, Kentucky, and Overbird were prominent callers. Getting eyes, let alone a camera, on any of them proved a difficult task.


I had two surprises of the morning. The first was a small bird popping around in some sparse underbrush. I expected a Common Yellowthroat or something similar. I was totally surprised to catch a sharp-looking Grasshopper Sparrow way our of habitat.


The other surprise came as I was driving around. I looked over at a picnic table under a pine tree and saw what looked like a Yellow-throated Vireo hopping around on it. I did not think it would work, but I decided to park the car and walk up for a shot. I was surprised to find a female Pine Warbler bouncing around. She was so content picking up bugs off the table. She just hopped around and ignored me. There were some Ruby-crowned Kinglet in the tree, and I spent some time trying to shoot one poking its head out of the boughs. That proved almost impossible and entirely impossible at the same time. I got some in focus, but did not get anything decent. Periodically, the Pine Warbler would hop up into the branches, and I would try for shots of her, too. As I am standing there, a male Pine showed up. Then I noticed there was a second female Pine. I stood there (sometimes actually up on another picnic table) for a half hour or more; just watching and shooting when the opportunity presented itself. A really cool experience that made me forget for a little bit how poorly the rest of the weekend had gone. A male Pileated Woodpecker even came by for some photos. I eventually moved on but did not get much else. Still, I was happy.


Sunday, I got home and looked out the window at my feeders. Not that I do not look every day, but I have been waiting and watching. The Rose-breasted Grosbeaks still had not shown up. They show up every year. They stay for some time; cycling out individuals over about a week or so. I had not seen any yet, and I was afraid they would not show this year. By all appearances, that was starting to look likely. I had plans at 1:00 and headed off to get ready. Just before heading off for my plans, I looked out again, and there were 2 grosbeaks chomping away at some seed on the platform feeder. I was ecstatic. I am sure Carmen was relieved, too. I was mentioning that I had not seen any - a lot. Monday, I took a little bit of a long lunch and grabbed a few shots. I also setup my chair so I could watch the feeders while I was working. My high count was 4 males and 2 females. Pretty good. Here are a few grosbeak (and a robin) shots from Monday. There will be more!


Hoping to get a few more lunch sessions in this week. Hopefully they stick around through the weekend. I really look forward to this time of year.


Thanks for reading,

Mike



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