Last Monday, the day dawned with perfect temps and low winds. I was free, and the day was made for birding. A quick, early-morning call to Margie M., and we were off.
While this first picture is out of order of the day's events, it shows one of two birds that confounded me during the day. In the middle of this shot is a brown bird mixed in with the murres and puffins. What is it? My best guess, given the area near Molly Bawn's boat launch, is a Sooty Shearwater. If anyone else cares to venture a guess, please do.
Back to the trip. Before we reached Middle Pond, we came upon this moose standing very close to the road. It was impossible to see it and not try to get a snap.
We stopped in to see our Middle Pond friends who have, over time, been very gracious to birders. We took a stroll down to the pond and found this Osprey, Common Terns, a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and more. We were told that a family of Canada Geese and Common Loon made the pond home for their young this summer.
This Tree Swallow stopped by on a rock to say hello in Mobile.
At last, we reached La Manche. You can always count on seeing Black-throated Warblers in this area, and they put on quite a show for us. The velvety black throat sets off the olive-green crown. All of that was bested by the great song.
The last time I hiked the La Manche Trail, I recall I whined about the level of difficulty the trail presented. This time it was dry and easy to walk. However, on Monday, HOT Monday, St. John's came within mere points of breaking the all-time record for heat. Well, let me tell you, it was hotter than that in La Manche. It was 1.3 km of hot walking in, and 1.3 km of HOT, HOT walking out.
Given the weight of my camera and binos, I didn't carry in any water. BIG mistake! Just before reaching the end of the trail, I broke down and had a drink from the spring. It was clear and cool, and water never tasted so good. That is the first time I have done that in years. In addition, I doused myself all over with water. What a relief! Now remember, this is a person from Arkansas who is complaining about the heat. I guess I just am not used to it any more.
Trying to put my discomfort aside was made easier by the constant singing of the warblers along the trail.
Then, this one popped up. For a moment, I thought we had a new species given all of the greenish yellow, no black throat, brown eye and a seemingly curved beak. But - No. Closer looks revealed a female Black-throated Green Warbler. I think this is the first one I have ever seen.
There were some other warblers along the trail including Northern Waterthrush, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Blackpoll. There was one Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.
The female Blackpolls are beginning to appear all around now. It looks like the young have been hatched and must be fed.
Raptors were also plentiful during our day. We saw a Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Osprey, Northern Goshawk and this one.
Flying high and away, I didn't get an ID, It appeared to be about the size of a Merlin or a Sharp-shinned Hawk. Try as I did, I couldn't detect the color, not with the naked eye nor the eye of the camera. The last shot of this post shows yet another image of this bird. Help to identify this bird is welcomed.
This Northern Goshawk was a quick fly-by but easy enough to identify.
The prize for the best song and surprise of the day goes to this Tennessee Warbler. We heard it before we saw it.
Then, I got a glimpse of it flitting in close to the tree trunk but still couldn't get a look at it.
What a relief it was when it popped out into the open, still singing. Two unidentified birds for the day is about all I can handle.
While it is certainly getting much easier to identify birds by their song and by shorter looks at them, there always seem to be those that got away. 'Tis a humbling experience to realize just how little I know going into my fourth year of watching feathery creatures fly.