thanks to Annemarie Rand for this latest bird report:
This past Mother’s Day was a wonderful day to walk the Ronan Park Trail and bird watch. Spring is in full swing and the birds were out in full force.
For me, the most exciting thing about watching birds in Spring are the wood warblers (Family Parulidae). I just can’t get enough of them. There’s a reason they are called the jewels of the bird world. If you are walking the trail and see tiny, brightly colored birds flitting through the trees, chances are you are looking at a warbler. Be warned though, they don’t stay still for very long. They are tiny and fast. Since they are insect eaters, they are in seemingly continuous motion as they fly about, catching insects. Some species like to be very high up in the trees. There’s a “condition” that birders joke about called “warbler-neck” which consists of having a sore neck due to having your head tilted back to watch warblers for a long time. They are so fascinating that it is well worth it to have a sore neck for a little while! Other species spend time closer to the ground. On this trip I saw Magnolia Warblers, American Redstarts, a Black-and-White Warbler, a Yellow Warbler, a Chestnut-sided Warbler, a Nashville Warbler, a Common Yellowthroat and a Northern Waterthrush. The Common Yellowthroat and the Northern Waterthrush actually spend time low to the ground on the bank of the river. This was the first time I saw a Northern Waterthrush, so I was thrilled! We are so fortunate to have the river here as a draw for the birds as they journey north. Most wood warblers are just migrating through and don’t nest here, so if you are interested in seeing some of these little gems I suggest you get out to the trail sometime this month. I could go on and on about warblers, but should probably report the other birds seen on my trip.
Sparrows: White-crowned Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, American Tree Sparrow, House Sparrow. White-crowned Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows are just passing through. You’ve probably heard them in the neighborhood for a couple of weeks now.
Herons: Black-crowned Night Heron, Green Heron.
Canada Geese (2 adults and 10 chicks!), Mallards, dozens of Chimney Swifts, Belted Kingfisher, Downy Woodpecker, American Robins, Red-winged Blackbird, Brown-headed Cowbird, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Black-capped Chickadee, Alder Flycatcher, American Goldfinch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Warbling Vireo, Herring Gull.
Still no sign of Red-headed Woodpeckers, yet. Anyone who has read my previous reports knows that the Red-headed Woodpecker is a species we’d love to have nest at Ronan Park again. (They nested in a dead tree along the river in 2008.)
I strongly urge anyone who enjoys the Ronan Park Trail to fit a little bird watching into your time there. You really don’t need any fancy equipment to do this. An inexpensive pair of binoculars and a field guide would be great if you are just getting started. Sometimes you can find decent binoculars at a great price at resale shops. There are some field guides made specifically for beginners. It’s wonderful to get children involved too. It’s never too late to get the next generation interested and involved in the things we love about nature, our park, and our community.
So until next time, good birding to all of you!
Bird Monitor for Ronan and Legion Parks