As I watch the calendar and scour the empty trees, I know it won't be long until there will be big and little songs beckoning me to find them.
The spring arrivals will be back in full force my mid to late May. Until then, it is possible to find an early "arrivant" any time, any place.
The birds pictured here are ordered as I first saw them last year. I think the first was the Wilson's Warbler seen on Power's Road. They are the most prevalent species in early spring in that area.
Shortly thereafter, in come the others. Goulds is one of the best areas to see the variety of spring migrants. Nevertheless, Kent's Pond, Cuckhold's Cove, Long Pond, Mundy Pond and Kenny's Pond also yield small birds. I have found Kenny's Pond and Mundy Pond the best places to photograph Yellow Warblers. The brightest and best seem to show up in those two locations.
The Black and White Warbler and Blackpoll seem to be a little shy when they first arrive. It is often that I hear them several days before I see them. Their call can often be heard low in the shrubs and tangles. That is because the B & W builds is small nest among the leaf litter while the Blackpoll builds its nests a little higher, but low in the trees.
One of the biggest voices of the returning birds belongs to the Northern Waterthrush. This bird stays near the top one-third of the tree and sings its song, loud and long. It is often heard long before it is seen.
Quieter and more unassuming is the American Redstart. They can be spotted most anywhere warblers gather, but the best location I have found to see this species is on a small side road off Power's Road in Goulds. It often takes a while to see them as they typically do not come out to greet visitors.
Another loud and melodious song belongs to the Ruby-crowned Kinglet. In spring, I often hear these birds singing from the tops of the trees. Their song is surprisingly larger than the little bird. Rarely are they right on the roadway or open path. They tend to stay back from the road by about 20 yards. That makes it tricky to get a good picture of them.
One of my favorites is the Magnolia Warbler who will likely return by the 3rd week of May and show up on Power's Road. There has been one early male return to the area for at least two years in a row. Their song is a total giveaway of their location. Later in the season last year, I came upon a small group of three or four Magnolia's in a different location on Power's Road. What a treat!
Also among my favorites is the Mourning Warbler. I have had the most luck locating this species on Cochrane Pond Road. A very secretive bird, it is imperative to be very quiet, not intrude on their space and hope they come to you in order to get a good look.
I should also mention I have seen the Black-throated Green Warbler (not pictured) in the general vicinity as the Mourning Warblers.
While it is possible, the birds will return to the same area year-over-year, there really is no guarantee. They can vanish from a typical nesting ground if they feel threatened and move to some unknown location where we may not be able to see them.
I am so looking forward to their return and to the lazy days of strolling through the woods to catch a glimpse of any one of them.