Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Ups & Downs of Spring

April has a habit of teasing us and that has certainly been the case over the past 24 hours. Wednesday was decidedly warm and sunny and I went to bed listening to the mad chorus of Spring Peepers and Fowler's Toads. A few American Toads could be heard too; according to the books, they don't occur here, but amphibians (and reptiles) often get moved around by people and doubtless someone decided they's make a nice addition to the local pond. The winds changed, however, and today saw us back in winter coats for the Birds, Bugs & Botany walk at the state park, as a brisk north-westerly pelted across the parking lot. Northern Rough-winged, Barn and Tree Swallows were whipping around low to the ground, along with a few Purple Martins, but the real show that the wind laid on for us was a spectacular gathering of at least 500 Northern Gannets (and that was just in our bit of the bay!), many of which were plunge diving for fish.

Lake Lily and the area around the Northwood Center remains the prime location for warblers right now, with Yellow-rumped Warblers well into double figures, a smattering of Yellow Warblers today and the odd Prairie, Palm, Yellow-throated, Black-throated Green and Northern Parula thrown in for good measure. Small parties of Glossy Ibis and Great and Snowy Egrets drifted north this morning and yesterday gave me the typical mixed-up April scenario of hearing my first Ovenbird of the year singing at Cold Spring, followed by a Winter Wren at the Northwood Center!

Other reports: Wednesday - Great Crested Flycatcher at Belleplain, Blue-winged Warbler at Cape May Point, American Redstart at Peaslee WMA and a handful of incoming Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. Thursday - Scarlet Tanager and Cedar Waxwings at the point; this morninig I also saw my first 'western' Palm Warbler of the spring.

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