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Equinox Warblers

March 21, 2011
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I returned from Florida on Friday to what, for all intents and purposes, felt like full-blown spring in North Carolina.  Even though the calendar, and my own notes, said that those first warblers wouldn’t arrive for another week or so at the earliest, everything about the weather said that I should be able to find the birds I sought without too much trouble.  Nothing really objective about it, it just felt right.

So I went to the Few’s Ford section of Eno River State Park just west of Durham, my old reliable first landbird spot of spring.  I had Noah with me too, so it was an opportunity to test out spring birding with all the accouterments of birding with baby (the backpack, the fanny pack with diapers and food, the sippy cup in the side pocket) as well as my ever increasing personal affects, i.e. my camera (i.e. the “big gun”*).

*That’s a reference to this post from the excellent Bourbon, Bastards, and Birds.  I’d just like to point out that while it does look like I’m hauling a metric ton of stuff when I’m birding with Noah, it’s mostly his.  I generally hate looking like I’m embarking on an expedition when I’m going out in the field, and there’s no way I’ll wear matching field clothes.

The first bird I heard when I stepped out of the car was an American Crow.  The second bird was a Yellow-throated Warbler, a full week earlier than last year (though only a couple days earlier than the year before).  It was on.  Noah and walked down by the river finding little but for an abandoned canoe filled with empty cans of Bud Light – someone had apparently had such a fun night they abandoned their canoe on the trail – eventually turning back before getting to far.  It was while we were retracing our steps that I heard that sweet slurry song rising from the rapids and soon enough a Louisiana Waterthrush was foraging on a rock in the middle of the river.

It was also then that I learned that having a squirming 30 pound weight on your back is not conducive for bird photography.  So here’s my record short of the year’s first Waterthrush.

And another shot that would have been better had the bird just cooperated.

The two spring warblers would have been enough, but I heard a distant Black-and-White Warbler in the woods as well, making it three early season Parulids on one outing.  Spring is here at last, and so long as I’m ok with these three species for the foreseeable future, the birding will be just that much more exciting.

Oh, and I also had a nice encounter with a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker while Noah was running around in a small park.  So it is possible to take photos with him around.  He just can’t be on my back at the time.

107* down, 109 to go.

*includes a Purple Martin I had in my neighborhood

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2 Comments
  1. March 21, 2011 9:13 am

    Dear little warblers! I am envious; after a 74 degree Friday we now have a an inch of snow on Monday here north of New York city. All the courting songs are quiet this morning— except the Carolina Wren just piped up— hope!

  2. Nate permalink*
    March 22, 2011 7:47 am

    @Jane- They’re coming! They’re coming!

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