In Search of Spring Arrivals, May 12th 2012

- By Paul Anderson

At 7:30am on a gorgeous Saturday morning, about twelve birders showed up for a field trip to the Park Preserve in the hope of finding some nice warblers. We were not disappointed. When we first entered the preserve, we immediately heard and saw several Blue-winged Warblers. A Common Yellowthroat was calling actively but was not seen, as was an Eastern Towhee. As we progressed further in we heard the Prairie Warbler for which this spot is most famous. The point where the path diverges from the stream was most productive, yielding good views of a Magnolia Warbler, an Eastern Towhee, a Common Yellowthroat, Nashville Warblers, and a Prairie Warbler. A Ruby-throated Hummingbird perched at the top of a small tree. An Indigo Bunting was heard clearly, but a visual proved elusive.

We proceeded into the wooded area where we heard a Red-eyed Vireo singing from high in the trees and many Ovenbirds calling loudly. Down by the creek we were hoping to get Louisiana Waterthrush and Winter Wren. We struck out on the former, but the Wren started calling loud and clear just as we were leaving. The best treat in that spot was a pair of Hermit Thrushes, the male doing a little courtship dance to entertain us.

On our way back towards the entrance we had another singing Magnolia Warbler, and several singing Black-throated Green Warblers, none of which were seen.

In addition, we had the usual suspects - Crows, Chickadees, Grackles, Song Sparrows, Blackbirds and Jays. However we had almost no woodpecker species; a couple drumming, and none seen. This was a surprise because two weeks previously I had come here with an SFO group were every other bird seemed to be a Flicker and other species were drumming constantly. We also saw no raptors, not even a distant Turkey Vulture.

It was a treat to see large numbers of butterflies here too, including Red Admiral, Tiger Swallowtail, and many other unidentified species.

Finally, on our way home we stopped briefly on Mt. Pleasant Road to find Bobolinks calling and flitting about in the grass.