I was ahead on hours a bit for the week; so, I took Friday morning off and headed to the park. That turned out to be a good call. Friday morning, I got to the park around sunrise. I did not expect much. Like I said last week, I felt things were over. Migration was just weird this year. It started early. It felt like it peaked early. A lot of migrants pushed through between the weekends. I was sure migration was pretty much over. I headed out to look for stragglers. I found the tail-end of another wave.
I checked an area at the park and had little more than a bluebird and a high-up Blackburnian Warbler singing in a tree. Not bad, but nothing to get excited about. I left and headed to the marina. Things there were very busy there, including more birders than I expected. There were at least a dozen other people there.
Allow me a quick aside, here. Let me also state that I, for one, welcome our new birding app overlord. In particular, the Merlin app that IDs bird calls. I kept running across people with their phones out. I assumed they were playing for birds. Instead, they are part of a growing trend I have noticed. I have ran across a number of birders who walk around with the app running; constantly picking up bird calls. They are using it to help locate birds around them. It is really nice for birders who have hearing impairment. It is just a bit odd to see them with their phones out constantly.
Anyway, a birder had picked up a Connecticut Warbler on their app. We waited it out a bit, but it was not popping out. I moved around and up-trail a bit towards a singing Canada Warbler. I tried pishing the bird out of cover. I could see it hopping around a bit and getting closer. At this point, I caught a bit of movement in my peripheral vision and looked to my left. I fully expected it was a floater. Getting older has increased the number of floaters in my vision, and they are a bit distracting while birding. So, I looked a little to my left, and there is a Connecticut Warbler staring at me. It had popped out when I was pishing. I had failed to notice it. I fired off a couple of shots and then called to the birder up the path. I wanted her to see the bird, too. Unfortunately, calling out, even quietly, sent the bird back into cover.
The rest of the morning was pretty much spent trying to get a picture of a Canada Warbler. When you wish for a shot of a bird, be specific. Otherwise, you will get through the day and only have a shot that looks something like this. It is a stick being photobombed by a Canada Warbler.
As far as skulkers go, I thought I had a female Connecticut Warbler that I pished in. I even flagged down another birder and told them I had just seen one. Upon further review, I noticed that I had a female Mourning Warbler. I heard a male singing later. It did not come out for a photo, though.
As far as the day was going, I was missing one skulker. That would be the Wilson's Warbler. Honestly, I was on my last trip around the "triangle" when I found one. I got a bit ahead of it and waited for it to work its way toward me. It came out right where I thought I wanted it to. It even stopped and looked at me for a minute. What more could I have asked for? Well, for one, a non-blurry stick over part of it. Again, be specific with what you wish for.
The rest of the day provided a little better photos. A walker came by and flushed an Alder Flycatcher out into the open. There were lots of Blackpoll Warblers about. I did find a Magnolia Warbler. I heard some Yellow-bellied Flycatchers and American Redstarts, but I did not manage photos. All in all, it was an entirely good morning. It was also a very unexpected success. Then I had to work... tomorrow was going to be good.
Friday morning was so good, I changed my plans for Saturday. It is hard to say that I am disappointed with that. The day was far from what I had hoped for, though. I checked a couple of spots and then headed to the marina. Everywhere was dead - very dead. I headed out to some other parts of the park. I was driving around a bit slowly with my windows down; just listening. I finally heard a bird that I had not yet seen this year. Prairie Warbler was calling in the distance. I parked and started walking. I was shocked at how far away the bird was. Along the way, I had a number of Common Grackle and Brown Thrasher. There were also some sparrows and yellowthroats in the various shrubs and grasses. There was even a chat clucking and whistling in the distance. I finally arrived to the area where the Prairie Warbler was singing and could not find it. Pishing popped it out. It was just 30 foot up in an oak tree. It was curious, but it would not hop down. I tried moving down the path a ways and pishing for it some more. The bird moved out of the tree and flew into some nearby bushes. It eventually popped out on a lone branch of an autumn olive. I had to take a couple of small side-steps to get a clear view. The bird held onto this spindly branch as it was tossed about in the wind and belted out a couple of songs. It looked around and flew back to its oak. In the meantime, I had pretty much held down the shutter release on the camera. They were pretty much the only pictures I took all day. I was happy with how they turned out.
On the way out, I managed couple shots of a Common Yellowthroat and a pretty Field Sparrow.
I headed back to the marina where I had a lone Wilson's Warbler along with a couple of Blackpoll Warblers. I did hear a Yellow-billed Cuckoo call a couple of times. I never got eyes on it. I finally called it and headed home.
Sunday, I had plans. I had some time in the morning. I even got up early. I am still not sure if I made the right choice or not. I left home. I looked around and saw the flags blowing in the winds. I did not want winds. I was heading out to look for sparrows. Winds and sparrows do not mix. The sky was darkly cloudy. I turned around a mile down the road. I still wonder if I should have just have gone out anyway. Next weekend....
Thanks for reading,