Wednesday May 23, 2012 Marbled Godwit and Spotted Sandpiper

Sporadic Bird Report Update from last week

This was the day summer arrived: the thermometer rose steadily to 66º under sunny skies. Bumblebees suddenly appeared, ready to pollinate anything in bloom. Milbert Tortoiseshell Butterflies fluttered in the breeze, always seeming to get where they intended despite their frail appearance.

Birds sang lustily seemingly from every tree. 'Our" FOX SPARROWS dueted the local dialect from one block to the other, "Whip-gee Whillikkers! What a beautiful day!" with slight inverse variations on the melody. WILSON'S WARBLERS sang their staccato tune, ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS tossed out their rapid, descending trill, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS warbled at a more relaxed tempo. The peaceful, calming song of the HERMIT THRUSH drifted through the air. PINE GROSBEAKS, perched at the top of spruce, sang beautifully but reminded me of winter. I hope they stay and nest.

Dozens of VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOWS twittered and chirped in swooping flight overhead. A happy couple, accompanied by the third real estate swallow, checked out one of my nesting boxes. I offered white feathers and watched their excitement and twitters increase. The male snatched one from the wind and stuffed it in the box. This does not mean they will actually nest here, often preferring an old dryer vent or other lower rent dive, but I sure hope they stay!

RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRDS buzzed and zinged to and fro from the feeders. The male, especially, with his bright rufous plumage and dazzling crimson throat seems unable to fly quietly. The females can silently appear, tank up, and zoom off without fanfare. 

Later that evening, I visited the tideland beach. Many SEMIPALMATED PLOVERS stop-started along the mud, probing and finding food. A single SPOTTED SANDPIPER fed nearby. Three WHIMBRELS flew along the tide's edge. Eight GREATER-WHITE FRONTED GEESE watched warily from the sedges. Four CACKLING GEESE, including one with a very white neck, probably the same I saw last week, walked with them. What an unusual plumage! I turned around and walked away before they flew.

At the saltmarsh pond, many NORTHERN SHOVELERS napped and preened with AMERICAN WIGEONS, MALLARDS, and GREEN-WINGED TEAL. I noticed a large shorebird standing in the newly emerged sedges. It probed its long, bicolored bill deep into the vegetation. The bill was black at the tip turning pinkish beige about halfway towards the head. When it fluttered a few yards away, its raised wings revealed cinnamon-colored underwings. I was very pleased to find the MARBLED GODWIT and left it feeding peacefully in the evening sunshine.

Around 10:30 pm, I watched a male RUFOUS HUMMER perform his energetic "U-shaped" courtship dance to a female sitting in a willow. Sugar power!

The next day, our cool, overcast spring returned after this tantalizing taste of summer.

Happy Birding!
Carol Griswold
Seward Sporadic Bird Report Reporter

No comments:

Post a Comment