Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Best Kind!

 It was a "large" morning or as some would say, "the best kind." The sun was out, the wind was reasonable and the birds....  Well, the birds were plentiful, frisky and vociferous!
 With the spontaneity that only retirement can offer, Ethel D. and I jumped in the car and headed south yesterday morning. Along the way, we saw several birds moving around and perched atop the trees. First stop: Mobile.
 The Northern Mockingbird was very cooperative in the early morning hours. This bird moves around a lot!
 Its flight pattern was very interesting. I attempted numerous times to capture it in flight, but only had success when it slowed its pace to land. This area was quite busy with finch and robins. A small flock of five Cedar Waxwings flew over. We walked the trail for a nice distance but didn't find anything out of the ordinary. By morning's-end, we had put in nearly six kilometers. That is the added bonus to a good day of birding.
 During the five hours we saw numerous crossbills, both White-winged and Red. Of all the birds, they seemed to be the least "chatty."
 It was nice to get really good views of several juvenile Red Crossbills on La Manche Road.
 The juveniles were still hanging close to the female adults. Most of the crossbills we saw were female, only two male White-winged Crossbill present.
 Pine Siskin were plentiful and singing loudly, especially in the trail to the La Manche bridge.
 Goldfinch were less plentiful than usual, but the ones seen were transitioning very nicely into their breeding plumage.
 Pine Grosbeaks and Purple Finch were scattered throughout most all sites we checked. Both species were singing loudly. Again, the sightings were dominated by females.
 That pretty much covers off the common finch species. It was like they had all been waiting for a nice day to sit and sing. Ahh.... a real feel of Spring!
 Fox Sparrows are growing in number. We saw about five in different areas throughout the morning.
 Golden-crowned Kinglets are growing scarce. This was the only one seen. It was on La Manche Road.
 The female juncos are "browning up" and looking very sharp.
 On the return drive, we were lucky to catch the Wood Duck in a small pool of water alongside the road. It was very wild. At the sight of us, it lifted off and flew to the far side of the pond. The closer we got, it lifted off again and flew into the woods where it landed. It was interesting to see this. The Black Duck also took off, but clearly kept on going.
The new species for the year were two White-throated Sparrows first spotted by Ethel. It appeared to be a male and female. This male broke into an abbreviated version of its typical song. The woods are coming alive! Time to get out the sneakers and prepare for long walks.

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