Saturday, May 18, 2013

Biggest Week Epilogue - 15 May 2013

Radar had shown a big movement of birds overnight, so I decided to make one last ride down to Magee Marsh before heading to work.  Yesterday a Kirtland's Warbler (a female) had been sighted along the East Beach, but I didn't really expect it to be around today - they tend to be one-day wonders during migration.  Still, with the trees leafing out a single day could be the difference between seeing a lot of birds and hearing a lot of birds.

I left the house shortly after 4 am and got to the parking lot at Magee Marsh shortly before 5:30 am.  Storms were supposed to be moving through the area this morning, so lightning a few short downpours greeted my arrival.  But the rains let up, so I grabbed the scope and camera and headed onto the boardwalk.  A Common Nighthawk was circling over the parking lot.  Warblers were starting to chatter overhead: Black-and-White, Black-throated Blue, and Black-throated Green.  A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was calling in the trees, but it was still too dark to see them. 

House Wrens were singing nearby, and I was able to get a few photos using the Better Beamer and SB-800 on the Nikon D7100.  Unfortunately, the camera is limited to 1/250s shutter speeds, and the flash only captured a few frames before firing blanks for several more.  So, I ended up losing more than half of my frames to severely-underexposed captures.

A pair of Carolina Wrens were also making a lot of noise, and foraging just feet away.  I managed a few more images before losing a few more images.

As skies brightened the warblers started to appear.  A flock of Myrtle Warblers were working the shoreline next to the pond.  Among them were a Magnolia Warbler and several Palm Warblers.  A Northern Waterthrush was singing nearby, and for a short moment I thought I was hearing a Connecticut Warbler.

I walked the big loop of the boardwalk and came across more House Wrens, and a flock of several Mourning Warblers, American Redstarts and several Lincoln's Sparrows.  A Blackpoll Warbler was singing, but the trees obscured it from being seen.  The Black-throated Blues were outnumbering the redstarts, but only a few.  They were everywhere! The females were particularly challenging, since they difficult to make out in the trees. Gray Catbirds, Warbling Vireos and Yellow Warblers were also numerous.

Swainson's Thrushes were flying across the boardwalk in twos and threes, and I managed a pic or two.  I even managed a Gray-cheeked Thrush, but only after reviewing images when I got home.

By the time I had circled around and headed back to the west end of the boardwalk I managed to add Canada Warbler, a somewhat cooperative Tennessee Warbler, and several Northern Parula's.  Someone had forgotten to tell folks that the Biggest Week in American Birding was over because I could barely get through the crowds at the west end.  The parking lot was almost full, and it was only 8 am.

I decided to head back to work rather than fight the crowds.

Frustrations would occur when I drove by the East Beach and notice a dozen cars.  I almost walked out there, but decided to drive on.  When I got to work I found the Tweet indicating that the female Kirtland's Warbler was refound about 10 minutes after I drove by.  Then a Mississippi Kite was observed soaring over the BSBO HQ a few minutes later.  Within the hour two more Kirtland's Warblers would be spotted (a juvenile male and adult male), so I was less than thrilled (for myself).

But that is how it works sometimes.  Shake it off, and look forward to next year...  Rats.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The first guy is really cool.

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