Alex Palmer's Natural History Notes and Thoughts

Thoughts and reflections on various social and environmental issues, as well as naturalist observations from the great outdoors.

super-quick birding

This morning, I went for perhaps the shortest morning bird walk of all time. I lasted about 5 minutes. I went out the front door of my parent’s new waterside townhouse in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. There is a short boardwalk just outside the house that goes on and along the Lafayette River Tidal Basin. I had to move quickly because the wind and rain was going to start picking up at any moment. It was not cold, though, at least by a Midwesterner’s standards.

Along the bay there was not much to see other than some ring-billed gulls (Larus delawarensis) and some Mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos).    However, along the edge of the pond across the street, I saw something that a Midwestern boy such as myself has never seen in winter:  a Yellow Rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata).

These birds are a part of a group of birds known as wood warblers. Most of these small song birds spend their winters in the jungles of Central and South America.  But there are a few, such as the yellow-rumped warbler, that fly down to the wind-whipped subtropical maritime coast of the North Atlantic Ocean, where temperatures do often remain somewhat milder, even in the peak winter months.

As I headed towards the front door of my parent’s fancy waterfront condo, the rain began to pick up.  I saw a Savannah Sparrow (Passerculus sandwichensis) scurry underneath a small shrub.

All of this in only 5 minutes.  I smiled as I headed inside away from the pelting rain.

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One response to “super-quick birding

  1. Dad March 9, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Sweet experience and lovely description. My first recognition of the yellow rumped warbler was a few weeks ago when mom and I visited Fisherman’s Island with the Sierra Club. We were enchanted with the new specie of wildlife and flora before us. Our new hometown is something special.

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