Saturday, May 11, 2013

Spring Palm Warbler

 With this being my fourth Spring of birding, I am a little wiser and quicker when it comes to spotting and IDing little birds. However, it was really the pictures posted on J. Williams' Flickr site that prepared me to know what this bird was when it appeared. You see, I wasn't expecting it, and this is the first time I have ever seen a Palm Warbler in Spring. It was pretty exciting!
It all unfolded like this: After K. Knowles reported the Rusty Blackbird at Stick Pond, I had to go. I typically check this area frequently, but I have been very busy and not been over.

When I arrived around 8:30, I walked into the trail looking for the blackbird. There was nothing near the pond, so I followed the interior trail. In no time I heard a Yellow-rumped Warbler singing away, but I couldn't see it.

 In an effort to get a good look, after all I haven't seen many yet this year, I made a low pish. The Yellow-rumped Warbler responded and came closer. I was still trying to see it, when in flew this bright yellow Palm Warbler! What? Quick on the draw, I got these four shots before a huge plane roared in over the tree tops and flushed the Yellow-rumped Warbler, this Palm Warbler and, out of nowhere, the Rusty Blackbird. Only the Yellow-rumped Warbler settled back down into the same area. Sweet Success!
Having enjoyed that so much, I decided to slough off my other obligations for the morning and head to Bidgood's Park for a walk. I strolled through the trails listening to the lovely bird songs all along the way.

After I crossed the bridge and began walking the smaller loop of the park (where the outdoor classroom is) and I began to see Yellow-rumped Warblers darting across the trail. I stopped to enjoy the sights and sounds.

Totally surprised again, this Palm Warbler flew in and landed briefly on a nearby branch. What? Another one? I really couldn't believe it. While standing there, I caught sight of another one flying from a different direction cross the path. Could there be two? Or did the first one circle around and come out again? I really don't know because I didn't see them both at the same time. This seemed really exceptional to me as I can't remember Palm Warblers being reported in St. John's in Spring in previous years.

It wasn't only these Palm Warblers that were special yesterday. I also saw my first Tree Swallows of the year at the Race Track, Swamp Sparrows in the swampy area at Bidgood's, Greater Yellowlegs at Second Pond and a very boisterous White-throated Sparrow on Petty Harbour Road. After the woods being so quiet for so long, the action yesterday was really quite amazing. I will certainly get out to walk more and enjoy it beyond description.

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