Monday, May 4, 2009

Colorful New England Birds

Everybody has been saying it, spring seems to be fully upon us. And nowhere is that more evident than in the rainbow of birds that are beginning to migrate into - and through - New England. Several recent warm days - preceeded by warm southerly winds have brought a nice variety of color into our area, and like many other birders, I am making every effort to be out "in the field" whenever I can. Due to multiple work schedules, and the typically mixed N.E. weather, that means after work a few days a week, and the weekends. (I'm usually in the office by 7am preventing any really good early morning birding on the weekdays.)
The big news (especially when speaking in avian color in spring) are all the warblers that are arriving, many of which are nearly matching or breaking early arrival dates. In the last few weeks, I have seen (in no particular order other than my memory) Pine, Palm, Yellow, Townsend's, Yellow-throated, Black-and-White, Hooded, Northern Parula, Black-throated Green, Black-throated Blue, Blackburnian, Nashville, Chestnut-sided, Common Yellowthroat, Cerulean, Prairie, Ovenbird and Northern Waterthrush. (And there are at least three I can think of that I've not seen yet but should by the end of next weekend!) Seeing these beautiful little birds is one thing - getting photos is entirely different. As always, seeing the birds is my first priority, but I do really like getting photos. My best warbler pics from this season so far are probably of the Yellow-throated Warbler I posted about last weekend. Here are a few others I've managed, though I certainly hope I can get better ones soon...

The Yellow and Palm warblers are plentiful enough that I was able to get a shot or two off.

In the past week we've also started seeing Baltimore and Orchard Orioles showing up. I've been trying to get that perfect Baltimore Oriole shot for the last year or two - something that really shows their brilliant orange contrasting with white flowers and blue sky. I'm not quite there yet, but I was pretty happy with these two...

I've also seen some pretty colorful ducks lately - birds that have been around for a while, but I don't know if it is the warmer weather or what, but they certainly seem a bit smarter looking to me. The Wood Duck and the Green-winged Teal are about as colorful as ducks get around here:

And they may not be quite as colorful as warblers or orioles, but Killdeer have a subtle beauty all their own:

A Savannah Sparrow may be a "little brown job" but when they up and pose just a few feet away, it is hard not to admire how striking individual species can be:

And if you think them visually dull (though I doubt you do), at least you might agree that they are colorful little singers, no?