Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bring on the Birds

This morning, before heading to a soccer scrimmage, I was able to do some birding around the yard. Right away, I headed to the highest point on the property which receives the first rays of sunlight as the sun peaks over the Kittatinny Ridge. This area, which is made up of Gray Birches, usually holds migrants. Although I couldn't find any migrant songbirds, I did see a Great Blue Heron flying over. From here, I worked my back towards the house. In a small meadow, I found two Sharp-shinned Hawks flying around. The two birds chased each other then rested on a bare treetop before flying into a stand of pines. In the vicinity of the pines was a calling Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Sharp-shinned Hawks perched on a dead tree in the meadow

While looking up, I noticed a Common Nighthawk flying over the trees. As I brought my binoculars up the nighthawk, I noticed that a hummingbird was diving at it. As the nighthawk flew away, the hummingbird followed diving and chriping until the nighthawk dove out of sight. Once the sun was up, I began hearing distinctive noises from the sky. These noises were from Bobolinks which continued to fly over for much of the morning.

After sunrise, many birds can be seen flying including this Rose-breasted Grosbeak

From the meadow, I headed to the area around the house. Most of the birds in this area were in the fruit trees. A large group of Gray Catbirds, Northern Mockingbirds, and a Brown Thrasher fed on wild cherries while a group of Red-eyed Vireos and warblers fed on insects in an apple tree. Although most of the warblers were common species, I did find one Worm-eating Warbler which is always a pleasant surprise.

The Worm-eating Warbler that I found in an apple tree

The final place I wanted to check before I left was the field across the road from the house. The various fruiting trees along the edge (dogwoods, viburnums, and cherries) were filled with birds. Catbirds seemed to be on every tree. Mixed in were Baltimore Orioles, Cedar Waxwings, and a few sparrows.

As I walked back to the house, I saw a large bird flying towards me from the west. At first glance, I thought it might be a raptor of some sort. As it flew closer, I realized that it was a gull. More specfically, a young Herring Gull, a somewhat rare species in this area during the summer. I have no idea where it came from, but it was flying directly east.

Herring Gull, an uncommon bird in the region during the
summer and an unusual find for the yard

The birds are migrating, so if you are interested, keep a watch on the radar at night:


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