Abe’s Arboretum Adventure Series – May 17, 2021

Abe’s Arboretum Adventure – 5.17.2021

TEMPERATURE: 59 degrees F
WIND: 3 mph, ENE
BIRD SPECIES: 40 (https://ebird.org/checklist/S88369638)

It was a special week for people associated with my adventure series. First, it was my birthday last week, and I got to celebrate it with a first of year (FOY) blue-winged warbler. As far as birthday birds go, this one is tough to beat – they’re bright yellow, with a small and bold black eye stripe, and have blue-gray wings with two white wingbars and they say, “bee, buzz”. There’s plenty to appreciate.

Then over the weekend, part of my family joined me for my daily marsh visit. My brother helped document wildlife and wildlife viewers, which is why a couple pictures are much better quality than you typically get. I enjoy my solo trips to the marsh, but the visit with family was special because I got to show them something I love doing. And they all got to see a sora for the first time – a lifer all around!

The water has been very quiet over the past week. Since my high count of over 200 waterfowl in March, the number has dwindled down to a low of 3 this week. Waterfowl are some of the first birds to migrate, chasing open water as spring thaws the ice. I remember counting waterfowl for about 30 minutes back in March. These days I’m intently scanning the edges of the marsh for a bird surprise. Typically, it’s only mallards and Canada geese, with the occasional visit from more charismatic shorebirds (soras, spotted sandpipers) and wading birds (great blue herons and green herons).

I had about one new species per day this week. Most of them showed up to say hello, and were on their way after we exchanged pleasantries. There was the birthday blue-winged warbler, a willow flycatcher, an american redstart (which is here to stay – see video), a swainson’s thrush, a pair of spotted sandpipers and a magnolia warbler this morning. The magnolia warbler is another striking warbler – they have a bright yellow front with a black necklace that melts into streaks across the chest and belly.

The cattails are starting to peek out from last year’s crop and the shrubs closest to the marsh are half-way leafed out. I’ll be reporting from the marsh for two more weeks as bird migration carries on and the marsh keeps blossoming.

See you next week,