It has been a very slow start to the expected heavier migration into the Northeast this year. The big movements of birds usually kicks off in the waning days of April or the first week of May. Unfavorable conditions (a migration sucking high pressure system and inclement weather in the southeast), had diverted birds west (based on discussions by much more qualified people than myself) or had them staged waiting in the southern half of the country. The story can be seen unfolding over @ Woodcreeper.com (check my previous year’s recommendations of David La Puma’s excellent work) and Tom Auer’s contribution to the Migration via Radar forecast, at his personal blog covering the Northeast. I check these regularly and was ecstatic to see today hope for a big push finally come to release the birds into our waiting migrant “traps.”
Black-throated Blue Warbler
I was optimistic even with the possibility of rain. It has been so slow I had reserved to bird from the car if need be to finally get a look at some new travelers! Not long did I wait as I drove into Garret.
I like entering the park at the high side and then driving down and around the mountain, listening for the participants that may be in store for the day. For the last week and a half I was met with Robins and a whole lot of silence on this drive in. Today was different (admittedly the build up here is a bit theatrical but its two weeks late! :)), and I heard Black-throated Green Warbler and Northern Parula along with Baltimore Orioles welcoming me in. YES. I started out on Wilson Ave to a huge flock of birds that were on the slope at the end of the main road. I heard Black-throated Blue Warblers and more Parula and many Ovenbird. I got on the Blues and the aforementioned Black-throated Green Warblers along with a surprising multiple Blackpoll Warblers (usually a later warbler, but with this years pattern tough to say) singing away. Palm Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, American Redstart and Yellow Warblers were present here.
The rest of the walk around Garret was full of birds with the Baltimore Orioles in in force and a pair of Orchard Orioles. We had Scarlet Tanagers and Great-crested Flycatchers and the pond held a Yellowlegs a Spotted Sandpiper and a Solitary Sandpiper. The resident Killdeer parents ushered around 4 babies that escaped all the water and the Common Yellowthroat seemed just fine with the conditions. (Mostly males only 1 female seen all day). Further up above the tiered lot we had multiple male Scarlet Tanagers and the GC Flycatcher along with my only Chestnut-sided Warbler of the day and a Nashville Warbler. A final pass around Barbours pond produced a single male Prairie Warbler along with more Veery and Wood Thrush also moving in heavier. Notable misses were no Rose-breasted Grosbeak for me (other reported) and no Northern Waterthrush (others had) or Magnolia Warbler which would be expected. I am sure they will be soon found in the days to come as the weather should keep the park busy and the weekends forecast looks bright. My favorite time of year has arrived and although late, as the saying goes, better late than never!