Friday, February 29, 2008

Easter Warblers at the Wissahickon

(Last of old posts from my Birding and Drawing Notes website.)

April 8, 2007. It didn't really seem like the best weather for birding, 40 degrees when we began and winds at 10-20. But my wife and I like to take a bird walk on most holidays, generally somewhere along the Wissahickon, so we decided to head out, though with very low expectations.

Our first 30 minutes showed almost no birds, just a cold, wintry sky. But when we got down to Forbidden Drive along the Wissahickon we saw more pine warblers than we've ever seen in one place at once. There were at least 12-15 of them. Most were not more than 6-10 feet off the ground. Normally when we do see a large number they are high up in pines.

At that height, and often against an overcast gray sky, it would be hard to even know that they are pine warblers if it weren't for their fairly distinctive song. But these were on the sand, on rocks, on low shrubs at eye-level. They ranged in color from nearly gray to the brightest yellow. And most were singing so it was a great opportunity to match bird and song.

As we adjusted to them we also found at least two palm warblers, at least one yellow-rump, two or more golden-crowned kinglets, and two ruby-crowned kinglet. All were in the same area near the water. They were all our first sightings of that particular species for 2007, outside of the kinglets.

We also saw two phoebes, first of 2007, along with a couple of wood ducks, many robins, two downies and some other more usual birds.
It maybe a cliche to say this, but you just never know what you might see when out birding, even on the most uninviting days.

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