Words On Birds by Steve Grinley

Warmer Winds Bring Spring Bird to Us
April 18, 2015
By Steve Grinley

     The warmer weather coming in on southwest winds seems to have brought the spring migrating birds to us, and close to being back on time. The first warblers have now arrived with pine, palm and yellow-rumped warblers all being seen in the area. There are even reports of Louisiana waterthrushes in the state. 

     The song of the little ruby-crowned kinglets are once again being heard as they make their way north. Barn and rough-winged swallows have joined their tree swallow counterparts into the area. The trills of returning chipping sparrows are now mixed with the soon departing trills of the juncos, and you need to take a second look so as not to confuse the chippies with any remaining tree sparrows. A pair of eastern towhees, our largest sparrow, was seen at the banding station on Plum Island. 

     According to hummingbirds.net, the first hummingbirds have arrived in Massachusetts, with three reports as of this writing. This is pretty much on time – within two to three days of when the first birds arrived last year. Two hummers have also made it into New Hampshire. You can track them yourself by going to the map athttp://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html.

     Though the majority of hummingbirds will arrive in May, you might want to start getting your feeders ready soon. At least dig them out of storage and make sure they are ready to greet YOUR hummers! You certainly don’t want to be embarrassed by having them hovering in front of your window, staring in to let you know they are waiting!

     With hummingbirds arriving, can the orioles be far behind? There are not many (any?) blossoms on the trees yet to trigger their arrival. Yet you may also want to ready those feeders just in case, as they will be ready for nectar, oranges and grape jelly when they first arrive.

     We took advantage of last weekend’s nice weather to join a Barred Owl Bird Club trip to the Newburyport area on Sunday. Founder and president Brian Cassie led us on another adventure in search of owls, raptors and any spring migrants we could find. He especially never misses an opportunity to exercise his God-given hooting ability to try to find us some owls.

     It was a great day, so I pass along this trip summary report from Brian:

     “Highlights : On Plum Island, we found a couple of adult Bald Eagles, a cooperative American Bittern, small numbers of migrating Sharp-shinned Hawks, American Kestrels, Turkey Vultures, Ospreys, and Barn Swallows and several hundred Tree Swallows. We had a great picnic lunch at parking lot 1. Missed the topless girl on the beach at lot 5, but Chris, the refuge cop, didn’t….and gave her and her photographer pals big tickets!

     “We saw a single Snow Goose, some Wilson’s Snipe, and Green-winged Teal along Scotland Road [Newbury]….but somehow overlooked a Greater White-fronted Goose. Oops.

     “At [West Newbury] we quickly called in a Barred Owl, which gave us great looks and then [it] did not stop calling for 45 minutes…sometimes with its mate duetting with it. 

     “[Along Pike’ Bridge Road] there were at least 10 pairs of Ring-necked Ducks, a few Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers, two Palm Warblers, and a very active River Otter.

     “Finally, we scored a White-faced Ibis (originally discovered by Phil Brown) and about 65 or so Glossy Ibises, several snipes, 30+ Green-winged Teal, two Bald Eagles, Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, and a singing meadowlark at the Raymond Farm fields in Ipswich.”

Steve Grinley
Bird Watcher’s Supply & Gift
Route 1 Traffic Circle
194 Route 1
Newburyport, MA 01950
Celebrating 2
4 years of service to the birding community! 
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