Friday, May 13, 2016

Spring Birding

Not too far from where I live is an area along the Lake Erie shore that is known among the top birding sites in the country. This week is called "The Biggest Week in American Birding" (see the local website here) because it is the week when the largest numbers of songbirds, and especially Warblers, make their way through our area on their spring migration north. What makes our area so popular among birders is that the birds stop here to rest and refuel before they cross the lake. People flood the area this week from all over the country and beyond. So, it seems appropriate for me to do a post about birds this week. We plan to go visit the wildlife refuge next week when there are not as many people.

In April and early May spring has brought the return of many birds to our area. Our backyard has seen quite a few winged visitors. A few weeks ago some American Goldfinches started frequenting our feeders. The male's vibrant yellow has returned and they enjoy sitting in the trees singing to us.

A new bird to our backyard last week was the White Crowned Sparrow. This is the first I've seen this bird. My hubby says their back and white striped head makes them look like their wearing bike helmets.

I saw a lot of birds during my weekend along the lake with my friend Bernice. A few were first time sightings for me: the Eastern Bluebird, American Coot and a swallow that I think is a Tree Swallow since it did not have any orange on it's chest like the Barn Swallows do. I love that the shore birds are returning.

My trip to my sister's house included a bit of birding in her backyard. It was fun watching a young Blue Heron hide behind the boat when he heard some geese land on the water near him. The Sandhill Cranes are also back at the lake but I was notable to get any pictures of them this trip.

While Bernice and I were driving along the lake we spotted an eagle sitting in a tree and pulled over to take some pictures. This is my third eagle sighting this year.

Eagle spotted with Bernice

Eagle spotted in March while on the staff retreat

Eagle spotted on vacation in Charleston, SC

At the office this week we were visited by three Baltimore Orioles but my camera pictures didn't turn out and the next day when I brought my camera to work they had already left our area. On that day, however, the Barn Swallows entertained us as they fought over a nest about the office door. 

Hopefully we'll spot some Warbles at the refuge next week. Happy Spring and happy birding!

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