Sunday, May 5, 2013

Protho Luck

[Prothonotary Warbler, Sunset Bridge in Belleplain State Forest, NJ today. Click to enlarge.]

Any weekend when you see Prothonotary Warbler both days, that's a good weekend. Especially when you see it well. And boy, have I - see below for yesterday, and above for today, when, as we approached the bridge on our bikes the three folks standing there beckoned, and here was the male Protho, practically arm's length away. I asked point blank, "Did you tape this bird in?" Happily, their outraged reaction seemed to prove they had not. They said the bird had just flown in on his own. Good, and sorry, says I, for suggesting otherwise.

Belleplain was not dead, but consider this comparison between the forest on May 7, 2011 and today, May 5, only two days earlier. I know 2 days can make a big difference the first week of May, but not with this weather pattern. Anyhow, consider the following numbers from essentially the same birding routes taken:

                                     Today                  May 7, 2011
Total species                     36                            56
Red-eyed Vireo                   3                            25
Wood Thrush                      2                            25
Black-and-white Warbler     5                            15
Kentucky Warbler               0                             2
Scarlet Tanager                   1                            10

Clearly, this is a late spring. We need this high pressure system to move out of here, take its northeast winds with it, and, if it happens in time, we still have a shot at some good migrant days.

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