Words On Birds 04-19-24

Words On Birds by Steve Grinley

Spring Birds Are Arriving
April 19, 2024
By Steve Grinley
     A few days of sunshine and southwest winds have finally brought us some spring migrants this past week. Counts of more than 200 song sparrows were seen on Plum Island along with tens of northern flickers, palm and pine warblers, and the first greater yellowlegs of the season.  On this past Monday, the Plum Island hawk watch tallied 278 kestrels flying north past Parking Lot #1. 
     One lucky Newburyport resident spotted a swallow-tailed kite flying north over High Road in Newbury!  Later that day, one was seen over the Route 1 Rotary in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, presumably the same bird.  The next day, two kites were seen in southern Maine!
     A cattle egret visited Pikul’s Farm (now Tendercrop) on Route 1A in Rowley. Flocks of glossy ibis have also arrived in Ipswich, and Rowley and a few were seen Plum Island. Snowy egrets have joined their larger counterparts, the great egrets, in area marshes.
     A Louisiana waterthrush is back, singing its heart out at Crooked Pond (Bald Hill Reservation) in Boxford. Blue-headed vireos and blue-gray gnatcatchers were also seen there along with the usual brown creepers circling up the trees as they sang. A rare prothonotary warbler was found at Daniel Boone Park in Ipswich and an early blue-winged warbler was at the Marblehead Neck Sanctuary along with a very early male scarlet tanager!
     Barn swallows and rough-winged swallows have joined the tree swallows at the Artichoke Reservoir in West Newbury and the Ipswich River Sanctuary in Topsfield. Chipping sparrows are arriving for the summer, but a few white-throated sparrows and juncos are still lingering under the feeders.
     Speaking of feeders, one homeowner reported an early male rose-breasted grosbeak at her feeder on Johnson Street in Newburyport last week. And speaking of grosbeaks, an Ipswich resident has a handsome male blue grosbeak joining her cardinals at her platform feeder of black-oil sunflower. What a surprise that was for her!
     And still speaking of feeders, now is the time to put out your hummingbird and oriole feeders. Hummingbirds have already found their way to several Essex County towns. A Baltimore oriole was feeding on oranges and suet in Beverly and another oriole was seen in Ipswich. 
     For nectar feeders, the ratio is 1 part sugar to 3 or 4 parts water for hummingbirds. Oriole nectars can be less sweet at 1 part sugar to 5 or 6 parts water.  Keep the extra in the refrigerator and change the nectar in the feeder every 3 or 4 days. Do not use honey and do not use red dyes or premixes with red dye in it. 
     The majority of hummingbirds and orioles arrive in mid-May, but many of the neotropical migrants seem to be arriving a bit earlier this year. So it is best not to wait until YOUR hummingbird is staring in your window demanding their feeder!

Steve Grinley
Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift
Port Plaza West Shops
45 Storey Ave, Suite 7B
Newburyport, MA 01950

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