Wednesday, April 20, 2011

First birdy day of the season!

This morning I carried out one of our monthly wildlife surveys for the US Army Corps of Engineers at their flood control project at Colebrook River Lake. As I shivered through the first half hour of my survey, not expecting much in gloomy 40 degree weather with a steady drizzle I rounded the corner towards a beaver pond near the entrance of the project site and suddenly found myself overwhelmed by the sheer number and diversity of birds present there! Hundreds of swallows twirled over the pond while likely hundreds of warblers moved through the adjacent understory and tree tops. Many, many yellow-rumped warblers were seemingly everywhere, as were smaller numbers of Palm and Black-and-White Warblers . I saw and heard my first of the year Blue-headed Vireo, Black-throated Green Warbler, Spotted Sandpiper and many other noteworthy birds showed themselves during the subsequent couple of hours.

The full species list and a couple of pictures are below. A total of 58 species in the area - not bad for a frigid April day! I can't wait for the days when this kind of birdlife will be the norm again...

Several Tree and Northern Rough-winged Swallows take a breather on the local beaver lodge,
while hundreds more swirl around them

Another random shot of some vegetation along the edge of the pond: swallows everywhere!

Palm Warbler

A classic early-spring scene: Yellow-rumped Warbler with maple flowers

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Black-and-White Warbler

Black-and-White Warbler

Brown Creeper

Northern Flicker - many individuals were highly territorial

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Most people in Connecticut associate Dark-eyed Juncos with winter, but up in the Colebrook area this is a year-round resident and breeder.

The same goes for White-throated Sparrows, which also breed in this area

Some early wildlflowers are emerging, adding to the spring-like atmosphere.
This is Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)

Hepatica (Hepatica nobilis) flowers come in white, pink and purple

For those interested, here is the full list of birds observed in the Colebrook River Lake area this morning:

Location: ACE Colebrook Reservoir

Observation date: 4/20/11

Number of species: 58

Canada Goose 10

Wood Duck 7

Mallard 2

Ring-necked Duck 4

Hooded Merganser 1

Common Merganser 8

Common Loon 5

Double-crested Cormorant 11

Great Blue Heron 5

Bald Eagle 1

Sharp-shinned Hawk 1

Peregrine Falcon 1

Spotted Sandpiper 1

Mourning Dove 2

Belted Kingfisher 1

Red-bellied Woodpecker 1

Yellow-bellied Sapsucker 4

Downy Woodpecker 5

Hairy Woodpecker 1

Northern Flicker 7

Eastern Phoebe 4

Blue-headed Vireo 2

Blue Jay 7

American Crow 5

Common Raven 2 -- on nest

Northern Rough-winged Swallow 38

Tree Swallow 250

Barn Swallow 4

Black-capped Chickadee 8

Tufted Titmouse 3

Red-breasted Nuthatch 1

White-breasted Nuthatch 3

Brown Creeper 1

Carolina Wren 1

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher 1

Golden-crowned Kinglet 2

Ruby-crowned Kinglet 13

Eastern Bluebird 6

American Robin 21

Cedar Waxwing 4

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 120

Black-throated Green Warbler 1

Pine Warbler 3

Palm Warbler (Yellow) 9

Black-and-white Warbler 4

Eastern Towhee 1

Chipping Sparrow 1

Savannah Sparrow 1

Song Sparrow 5

Swamp Sparrow 2

White-throated Sparrow 13

White-crowned Sparrow 1

Dark-eyed Junco (Slate-colored) 27

Northern Cardinal 5

Red-winged Blackbird 12

Rusty Blackbird 1

Common Grackle 14

American Goldfinch 3

All photographs copyright Twan Leenders

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