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Warblers!

May 9, 2010

They’re here! Now it appears it’s really Spring! I saw about 10 different kinds of warblers this weekend. It wasn’t easy. These teeny tiny birds fly by infinitely faster than I can ever raise my binoculars. They’re small and blend in with the foliage. I spent about five minutes staring intently at a pinecone by accident. But when I finally did manage to see one, it was completely worth it. I loved the Black and White Warbler (Mniotilta varia, in case you’re curious).

It’s about 11-13 cm long and weighs a grand total of 8-15 grams. And it chirps and flutters and is generally pretty close to perfect. This little bird winters anywhere from Florida down to Peru, and then migrates through Ontario and breeds in the summer in most parts of eastern/central Canada and the US. I was lucky enough to see the warbler in Long Point provincial park and Rondeau (both on Lake Erie). There are about 36 warbler species that make an appearance regularly on the banks of Lake Erie. I’m happy that I can recognize at least one of them!  We also saw magnolia warblers, yellow warblers, yellow rumped warblers (these felt so ordinary by the end of the day), blackburnian warblers and a fabulous Baltimore Oriole:

Now I understand why some baseball fans are obsessed with the Baltimore Orioles! I wish I had seen this bird up close before watching my first baseball game in Baltimore in 2004.  Would have been a totally different experience. But the actual ball game was fun that day — and the Orioles won!

If perchance you clicked on all the warbler pictures, can you now appreciate how they all look somewhat similar and when they whiz by you super fast, how the whole enterprise of actually SEEING them (not to mention identifying them!) could be rather challenging and enormously humbling? My binocular skills remain a work-in-progress.

I’ve always found the idea of migration fascinating. To think that these birds take the same route year after year after year. Sometimes they even stop in the exact same places, on the exact same rocks. And they never get bored! That’s what gets me most of all — I guess migration feels new and fresh to these birds every season. Not to say that I don’t have my routines — I do. Morning coffee, checking the mail box at a particular time every day, reading the New York Times wedding announcements in the Styles section on Sunday mornings. Yes, I am a fan of my routines, but I do like to mix them up every so often. (Some days, for instance, I drink my morning coffee black, other times I have it with milk, and on wild adventurous days, I add some foam.)

I also caught a sight of something resembling this:

Yes — two Canada Geese with their tiny goslings all in a row! I had been wanting to see a goose family in action for a while now. Such disciplined baby geese!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 10, 2010 12:12 am

    That little black and white one is adorable!

    So I saw a bird today (when you’re here we have to go birding…aka walking into Steveston for breakfast). It was black and small and had a strip of red on its wing that showed when it was flying. When it wasn’t flying, though, there was only a thin yellow band. Is this a red-winged blackbird, or is it something else?

    • May 10, 2010 4:47 pm

      sounds like a red winged blackbird to me, but I’ll check with more folks more in the know:)

  2. Fireweed permalink
    May 10, 2010 12:56 pm

    Saw a yellow warbler yesterday – they are so colourful and beautiful, one of my faves. Also, whilst digging the garden a pair of hummingbirds decided to do the wild thing about 2 feet away, hovering under a spruce tree – that was a bit shocking. They make rather odd noises while they are at it. The larger male was red and the female was green.

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