In what I can only call an Earth Day Special, I went to Vassar Farm to continue my search of spring time birds. For the first time this year, I finally feel like spring is here.
I managed to photograph several brightly colored birds today, as they were everywhere. The photograph of this yellow-rumped warbler is the first one I’ve taken in over two years, and he greeted me with a beautiful close-up.
And this was only five minutes into my hike.
The front pond was absolutely packed with little birds flying about and singing. There were lots of those yellow-rumped warblers everywhere, so I observed them for a bit since it was a first of season sighting for me. They didn’t seem to mind me too much, as they came in close on several occasions. Every now and then I would see ruby-crowned kinglets too, who also came in close to inspect me. It felt like the birds knew I was coming today, and in some instances, I felt like they were showing off and posing!
Then, I saw a flash of yellow go by. He landed on a branch across the front pond, so I walked over as close as I could and snapped this photo. It was a yellow warbler, near back to back first of season sightings!
I saw a total of 2 yellow warblers at the front pond, who were outnumbered by the 10 yellow-rumped warblers and 8 ruby-crowned kinglets I counted there.
Then, as if that wasn’t enough, I saw my first green heron of the season! He flew right out in the open and struck a pose. A second one appeared shortly after. While all of this was happening, barn swallows and possibly another type of swallow were flying around the pond too. They never landed, and it was impossible to get a shot of them flying with their speed and agility.
After all the excitement, I decided to make my way through the fields towards the eco ponds. There were a few eastern bluebirds, a red-shouldered hawk that came right at me, and the american kestrels were both out too. One was sitting on a branch, while the other was hovering in the sky. At the eco ponds, I got another look at the palm warblers.
There were many more palm warblers today than the last time. I counted about 7 at the eco ponds this time around. The surprising part to this hike was despite the extremely overcast day, I managed to get stellar warbler shots. Earth Day strikes again!
After watching the palm warblers, I headed to the trail behind the field station and made my way back to the parking lot. Through those woods is where I photographed the hermit thrush. I also saw a few tufted titmice, an eastern towhee, and a couple of red-bellied woodpeckers.
Once I was out of the woods, I found another group of palm warblers! I counted another 8 more, bringing my total up to 15 palm warblers for the day. There were also a group of cowbirds and robins near the community gardens. It was a calming end to an exciting day. The peak of migration is nearly upon us, and with an extra year of camera experience, I’m ready for it!
Full Sighting / Sound List:
- Green Heron (first of season sighting)
- Turkey Vulture
- Red-shouldered Hawk
- Red-tailed Hawk
- American Kestrel
- Mourning Dove
- Red-bellied Woodpecker
- Downy Woodpecker
- Northern Flicker
- Pileated Woodpecker (heard only)
- Eastern Phoebe
- Blue Jay
- American Crow
- Barn Swallow
- Tufted Titmouse
- White-breasted Nuthatch (heard only)
- Ruby-crowned Kinglet
- Eastern Bluebird
- Hermit Thrush (First sighting for me! #111)
- American Robin
- Northern Mockingbird
- European Starling
- Yellow Warbler (first of season sighting)
- Yellow-rumped Warbler (first of season sighting)
- Palm Warbler
- Eastern Towhee
- Field Sparrow (heard only)
- Song Sparrow
- White-throated Sparrow
- Northern Cardinal
- Red-winged Blackbird
- Common Grackle
- Brown-headed Cowbird
- American Goldfinch
- House Sparrow
- Red squirrel
- Gray Squirrel
- Eastern Chipmunk
- Eastern Cottontail