This past weekend, my husband and I went birding at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge on Plum Island. The Refuge tends to be a great spot to view warblers in the spring and this year didn’t disappoint! Here are a few of the highlights from our visit.
This little guy (above) is a Yellow Warbler. They leave their wintering grounds in Central and northern South America and return to give us some living sunshine each spring. I’m always happy to greet them!
Moving along, I was charmed by this little Common Yellowthroat (below) hopping and bopping along in front of us. At one point, he turned around as if to say, “Well . . . you coming?” Kind of a friendly chap and self-appointed welcoming committee. ❤️
I think that Magnolia Warblers are so pretty with their bold “necklace” of thick black streaks. This little guy evidently felt a song coming on. 😊
They’re understated compared to many of their brethren, but I think the Black-and-White Warbler is a very dapper fellow. What do you think?
They creep along the tree trunks, ferreting little bugs out of the bark.
Here we’ve got a Yellow-Rumped Warbler (named for obvious reasons). These are one of the few warblers that spend their winters in North America. They used to be known as myrtle warblers regionally, for their habit of eating bayberries (aka wax-myrtle) to get through the cold weather.
Isn’t this a handsome boy? He’s a Black-Throated Green Warbler.
I can’t tell you what patience it takes to get photos of some of the warblers! They’re very quick and flitting and seem to love tangles of brush, where it’s not always easy to get a good picture. (Yes, I know they’re there for their reasons, not to provide photo ops for us.) ❤️
But the little Black-Throated Green was quite happy to perch for a bit in more “open” spots. Thank you, little friend. (I got several photos of him, but like this one the best.)
This next girl is a Northern Parula. (I think.) She did a lot of eating upside down (like a duck, only in the top of a tree) and it took a lot of tries to get a photo of her right-side-up!
Is any bird more graceful in flight than a swallow? (In this case, we’re looking at a Purple Martin.)
The babies were very vocal, twittering away to be fed. The parents catch their food on the wing – little, flying insects. I kept thinking how hard those parents must work to provide enough for themselves and their families!
Now, this last guy (or girl) was a real celebrity and had lots of binocular- and camera-toting birders trooping along for a sighting.
S/he may not be the most eye-catching bird you’ve seen here – in fact, it was downright difficult to see it at all, s/he blended in so perfectly with the bark! This was a nightjar of some kind.
In the course of our day, we also saw American Redstarts, an Eastern Towhee, Brown Thrashers, Gray Catbirds, a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, Kingbirds, a Scarlet Tanager, an Orchard and a Baltimore Oriole, and lots more.
Visiting a hot-spot like this is quite a feast for the senses in season! Not only do you see lots of birds, taking a little well-deserved rest on their journeys to their breeding grounds, but Plum Island is stunningly beautiful at this time of year.
The crabapples, shadbush, beach plums, sand cherries, and oaks are all blooming. Together with junipers, pines, and various herbaceous perennials, they clothe the dunes and bottomlands like the most richly-colored and -textured tapestry you can imagine. Wonderful!
And clouds of insect life flock to the flowers and new growth, providing a wealth of protein-rich food for the birds to refuel on.
I love a good marriage of aesthetic and functional beauty. How about you?
What is your favorite memory of “feasting” on the marvels of the wild outdoors?