Monday, May 10, 2010

May 10: Appetizer

Thanks to being completely slammed by pollen allergies this spring, I've had a slow start with my birding season. As we head into the peak of spring migration and birders are seeing more than a dozen warblers an outing, my high point to date has been the ten minutes before work this morning. During a brief tour of my back yard, I enjoyed a little bird sampler of things to come: a great blue heron sailed through and landed in the river, five different warblers sang amid the leaves, a male downy woodpecker flew into a tree right next to me, and goldfinches mewed from the birch tree in the driveway.

Given that the air was a raw 40 degrees and I was running late to work, I wasn't intending to devote any time to birding this morning. But as I was getting ready to leave, I could hear the song of a redstart out back. I had to heed the call. So I grabbed my binocs just to get a quick look at this striking black and red little bird. Before I could successfully locate him, a parula sang, then a black-throated green warbler and a black-and-white warbler. I thought I had him in my neighbor's oak tree, but that bird turned out to be a Nashville warbler. Finally I picked him out in a nearby arborvitae. I'm sure there were other warblers back there, too, but alas, duty called.

Happy to have experienced that old thrill of a birding a warbler wave, small as it was, I left for work regretful that I didn't have more time to bird. As I walked into the office, I heard my first great-crested flycatcher of the season calling down by the river. This good start to my work day whetted my appetite for what I hope will become a gourmet banquet of birds in the month ahead.

Redstart sang to me
of sunny, bird-filled mornings,
fanned his pretty tail.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

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