Wednesday, April 29, 2009

April 28, 2009 - "The Worm-eating Warbler Spot," Wompatuck State Park, Hingham, Massachusetts

Birders tend to remember places their own way. I guess in the wider sense of the definition, it's a perfect example of sense of place. Others may know it as a good place for a jog, a clear path for a bike ride or where they stole their first kiss from their girlfriend. Birders remember it as the spot where they saw a really rare bird, and forever retrun to the spot in hopes of seeing it again.

Songbird migration has hit Massachusetts hard, and good thing, too. That which they seek - bugs - have risen from the thawing ground and taken to swarms in patches of sunlight. It's always nice to walk as I did today and see and hear a half dozen blue-gray gnatcatchers, knowing that they earned their titles for good hunting techniques. It's good to have an ally in this war.

But it was another day of firsts, and firsts-in-a-long-time. The loudest bird of the day was a great-crested flycatcher, and the quietest was a blue-winged warbler, a bird that doesn't realize the joke Mother Nature played on it. Its song, the one that attracts mates, sounds like a very small person blowing his nose. It makes me laugh every time. As for birds I haven't seen for a while, the king was the gray catbird. One or two winter in Massachusetts here or there, but last night saw a returning wave hit the state.

All around, from the tops of the trees to the ground, the rusty browns and dull grays I've lived with for month upon month have stepped aside in the advance of greens, yellows, whites and purples. It's spring. Oh, lordy, is it spring!

Time: 34 minutes.

New species: great-crested flycatcher, worm-eating warbler, common yellowthroat, blue-winged warbler, Baltimore oriole (175).

Stranger hellos: 4 (209).

What else is happening: spent a full day working on the Captains Guide magazine articles for 2009.

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