Thursday, May 1, 2014

Birding Journal Observations - March / April 2014

Painted bunting on April 16 at the fly-thru feeder - STRIKE A POSE!
Cold and wet weather marked the months of March and April in 2014 - setting the stage for a dynamic spring migration of neotropical migratory songbirds. This was my best spring birding year by far!! Keeping a sharp eye out for any birds that seem slightly out of place, or listening keenly for those who sing a tune of peculiar notes, is a mindset that can take years of training to develop. Anticipating the arrival of the birds is fun, and knowing that they will likely be here today and gone tomorrow makes birders give pause to enjoy - and hopefully photograph - these small and colorful visitors.

Due to the cold weather, we may have experienced a later migration, and it wasn't until March 25 that I spotted the FIRST yellow-throated warbler and the FIRST white-eyed vireo. When the flowers began to bloom in early April I knew it was time to set out my hummingbird feeder and then on April 7 the FIRST two ruby-throated hummingbirds showed up. The hummer numbers increased to four and we should be enjoying their company during the summer too. The FIRST Indigo bunting sighting was April 7 and the FIRST blue grosbeak sighting was April 12.  It was April 16 when a male painted bunting in full plumage visited my birding station for a multiple-day visit, and the FIRST black and white warbler. The absolute best day of birding came on April 22 when I had BOTH the FIRST males summer tanager and the FIRST male scarlet tanager visit, and the FIRST blue-grey gnatcatcher was also in the mix that day. This was a birdwatching home run for me, the Mount Everest of birding, and the cherry on top too, since never before had I had the tanagers visit on the same day. This makes me think that with the migration perhaps being a little late, it may also have been a bit more concentrated too, making the April 22 timeframe perhaps the peak of that migration? For more on this subject in the Charleston Mercury newspaper click here.

Other birding observations for March and April include towhee, cardinal, downy woodpecker, chipping sparrow, yellow-bellied sapsucker, mockingbird, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadee, blue jay, red-bellied woodpecker, bluebird, wood duck, ruby-crowned kinglet, goldfinch, blue-wing teal, Canada goose, cedar waxwings, dove, brown-headed cowbird, white-breasted nuthatch, white-throated sparrow, hairy woodpecker, grey catbird, brown thrasher and Carolina wren.

To view past Birding Journal Observations from 2014 click here.

To view past Birding Journal Observations from March / April click 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 or 2009.

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