Monday, March 9, 2015

Impatiently Waiting for Spring

I hate March.

March is a dead time for me- the ducks start leaving, the early migrants aren't quite here yet, and the days are bipolar. I don't even like winter to begin with, since my part of the world doesn't get any major rarities (the phalarope was nice, but it's mainly things like goldeneye and stuff) and anything good is far, far away. For instance, a White-tailed Kite and a Ruff are three hours away, while the Smith's Longspur in VA is four. The earliest migrants- if you can call them that, they're almost winter residents by now- such as Blue-headed Vireos, Black-and-White Warblers, and Common Yellowthroats haven't moved too much in my area yet, although I wait eagerly for their return.

How I await the sweet song of a vireo...
or the bold black and white stripes of the B&W Warbler...
...and the bright colors of a Northern Parula.
I have so much planned for April, including possibly 2 trips to Congaree National Park, lots and lots of trips to the neighborhood patch, and I'm really excited for my spring break trip to Myrtle Beach, SC. My life list is at 286 and I'm really hoping #300 is something special- I want it to be a Painted Bunting, a bird I consider my nemesis. A Peregrine Falcon or a Golden-winged Warbler would be nice too- but I'll admit, I don't want it to be something like a Western Sandpiper or Mottled Duck. If I don't reach 300 during spring break, then hopefully I'll hold out until July when we head to Florida. I would love to get Nanday Parakeet or Short-tailed Hawk or another neat Florida bird as 300. 

Anyway, I digress. It's been rather slow with not many lifers or yearbirds- my latest year bird is Ring-necked Duck and Osprey. I had some Common Ravens in my county, which is uncommon enough to put on the listserv (no way am I adding to the "feeder bird" craze) and yesterday a Hermit Thrush whisper-sang its amazing song. I never get tired of that beautiful sound!

Love is definitely in the air, with courting Red-shouldered Hawks screaming and soaring around, robins fighting, mockingbirds and thrashers breaking into song, and aforementioned Hermit Thrush singing. It's great to hear the morning chorus, but I long for the voices of warblers to join. 

I had a lot of Cedar Waxwings spreading privet berries in my patch- the ground was littered with their droppings. Privet is a serious problem in my neighborhood, along with Japanese Stilt-grass. But the waxwings love it, and they seem to be stocking up for breeding season.

Waxwings are sharp looking birds.
Another masked bird of note is a Loggerhead Shrike that gave Matt and I great views. Shrikes are declining a bit around here, so it's always nice to see one.

I got to watch this individual barf up a pellet, which I thought was pretty cool. I wanted to find the pellet so I could see what it had eaten, but daylight was limited, so we got out of there.

Other than all that, it's been rather slow. Birding is happening, but birds are not. Hopefully our beloved spring migrants arrive soon, and safely! Happy birding!

1 comment:

  1. I think all us birders are! I already can't wait for May and June vagrant seasons! What do 'shrike pellets' look like?