Sunday, March 7, 2010

First Migrants of 2010

It was unmistakably the first day of spring today, perhaps not by the calendar but certainly by the weather. Normally we see our first Kildeer of the year about this time each year at Morris Arboretum in Philadelphia. Sure enough we found two today, mating no less.

Actually members of the Icterid family, Blackbirds, Grackles and Cowbirds are earlier migrants. We have gotten both Grackles and Cowbirds in our backyard over the last two weeks. Many wouldn't consider them true, or at least desirable, migrants. Certainly not the cowbird because of nest parasitism. But I really enjoy Grackles. I did one field study this week but he moved too quickly so I really don't have anything to show.

I did do some fieldsketches of the Kildeer today and also a quick watercolor from photos I took. More than anything else I think the watercolor shows how well the Kildeer, and other shorebirds, can camouflage themselves.

It was a pleasure to see them. Spring is here!

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