This morning I found a Black-and-white Warbler on the Fairfield University campus. The male sang loudly just as I got out of my car, or I would have never known he was there. The small area he was foraging in was full of small deciduous trees and shrubs. It had many twisting branches - perfect for the bird to creep along, as it does in a way similar to the White-breasted Nuthatch. Essentially, it was a perfect spot for a migratory stopover if one disregarded the size and surroundings. I had been bemoaning the fact I had not seen a Black-and-white Warbler yet this spring the past few days, and when I finally found one it was in a random moment of pure luck.
The point is that it reminded me to keep my eyes and ears open at all times. You never know what you might find high in the skies or right in front of you. Spring migration often puts birds in odd situations and strange habitats. This individual could have gone down the street to the nearby Birdcraft Sanctuary, or even a bit further to the 155-acre Larsen Sanctuary at the CAS Center, but it stopped right next to a parking lot. While most birds will end up in more appropriate habitats, such as those sanctuaries, others will end up in surprising suburban or urban locations. No matter what you are doing in the next month, do not forget to look and listen for spring migrants.
This also means to always have your binoculars and camera ready. I was prepared but still only snapped this poor photo before both of us had to keep moving.
If you have any stories of random encounters you would like to share feel free to send them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe we will post an exceptionally strange sighting.
Photo © Scott Kruitbosch