Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Last of the Yucky Weather?

Red-winged Blackbird

The rain was supposed to have stopped by 5 am, but the sky didn't get that memo, or its watch was slow. It drizzled all the way to the Western Waterfront Trail, making me a bit nervous. It was pretty much over by the time our group assembled, but just in case, I covered my camera with a plastic bag (still haven't found my good camera cover).

Red-winged Blackbirds were all over the place. With the females here now, the males are in super-territorial mode.

Red-winged Blackbird

We were surprised at how few migrating songbirds were about. After the huge number of Hermit Thrushes last week (some here and most at Park Point), we didn't see a single one! And not a single Tree Swallow, either. Only a handful of kinglets and yellow-rumps, too, and they were searching so desperately for food that they were singularly uncooperative.

Yellow-rumped Warbler

I expect some baby geese may be swimming about in the next week or so.

Canada Goose

We've been seeing some hot Ring-billed Gull action here and at Park Point, but I doubt if we'll find any baby gulls. Their parents may do their John and Yoko stuff right in the road, but they keep child-care more private.

Ring-billed Gull

Our first Osprey of the season was rather cooperative.


Our Wood Ducks were not so cooperative.

Wood Ducks

The aberrant duck we saw last week was there again today. What species is it? We haven't had good views of it. Last week we were pretty sure it was a leucistic female Wood Duck, and I think that's my best guess, but it has some similarities with Long-tailed Ducks, too. It seems to hang out in the same shallow area as the woodies, but we haven't seen it hanging out with them.


Apparently this cat is a fixture in the neighborhood. It obviously has a home, but its irresponsible owners have been violating Duluth's cat-leash ordinance for quite a while, according to some of the people on our walk. It's so distressing to see a cat wandering where the birds are in such dire straits during a spring like this. Cats can move smoothly enough, even in a leap, to keep those bells silent.

Domestic Cat on the Prowl

When we reached our half-way turnaround, we ran into Jan and Larry Kramer, who had been leading the Warbler Walks for years starting when I got my job at Cornell. The pleasantness of seeing them again was augmented by the sun coming out from behind the clouds. The forecast will probably send quite a few more birds our way in the coming days. I bet we have a jolly time on Thursday at Park Point!

40 species (+1 other taxa)

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  18
Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  5
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  4
Blue-winged Teal (Anas discors)  2
Greater/Lesser Scaup (Aythya marila/affinis)  4
Long-tailed Duck 1
Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  5
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)  1
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  2
Horned Grebe (Podiceps auritus)  1
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus)  12
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)  4
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)  1
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)  1
Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  2
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  20
Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  12
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1
Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1
Hairy Woodpecker (Picoides villosus)  1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  3
Merlin (Falco columbarius)  1
Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe)  1
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  4
Common Raven (Corvus corax)  1
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  8
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis)  3  
Brown Creeper (Certhia americana)  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  5
American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  6
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata)  7
American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)  1
Fox Sparrow (Passerella iliaca)  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis)  2
White-throated Sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis)  4
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  15
Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana)  3
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  30
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula)  4
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)  12
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  4