Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sterling Forest, May 21st

Back up to Sterling Forest on the first sunny day for a over a week, and as it transpired the only sunny day of the weekend. Getting there around 7:30am I checked Blue Lake, where there was little singing activity, so I spent the entire morning along the power line cut at Ironwood Road.

A relatively cool start after a week of rain, and there wasn't that much active singing. In particular I heard no singing Golden-winged until I turned around on the trail, which is where I saw my first male. By that time I'd already seen two singing Blue-winged and photographed a female that was paired with the first "Blue-winged".

I say "Blue-winged" because it was this bird - almost certainly the one that was singing in the same tree as the Golden-winged 10 days perviously - that had pretty obvious Golden-winged genes in it. From underneath it's an unremarkable Blue-winged, but when I saw it from the side the upper wingbar had yellow in it, and the lower wing bar was both broad and solidly yellow. The face was perfect Blue-winged, so it wasn't an obvious "Lawrence's" Warbler. Some sort of back-cross that was 3/4 Blue-winged and 1/4 Golden-winged. Based on tail feather shape (and wear?) it was a first spring bird. The only good thing about all of this is that it was at least paired with a Blue-winged female, not a Golden-winged.

I had three singing Golden-winged on the day, plus a good mix of other warblers: Cerulean (singing male, also seen), Yellow Warbler, American Redstart, Black-and-white Warbler, Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, Ovenbird (heard), Hooded Warbler (heard). That's down from my previous trip here, but a pretty good total given that there was little migration ongoing with another in a series of winds out of the east.

Other passerines: Indigo Bunting, Eastern Towhee, Field Sparrow, Scarlet Tanager, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (heard), Eastern Wood-Peewee and Great Crested Flycatcher. I also had an Empidonax-sp that looked a lot like a Least Flycatcher but I wasn't totally sure of it based on incomplete looks (but not Acadian or Yellow-bellied). Not a bad day and I stayed a little later there due to the slow start.

Of note were a young Snapping Turtle crawling up the hill, and a large (5+ ft!) Black Rat Snake sprawled across the trail and really quite sluggish in the lower temperatures of the morning.

Red-tailed Hawk
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
Eastern Wood-Pewee
Least Flycatcher
Great Crested Flycatcher
Yellow-throated Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Barn Swallow
Wood Thrush
Gray Catbird
Blue-winged Warbler
Golden-winged Warbler
Cerulean Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Prairie Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
American Redstart
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler
Scarlet Tanager
Eastern Towhee
Field Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
Baltimore Oriole

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