It’s May. That means our friend Marie & I headed our for our yearly warbler-migration. One morning at Wompatuck State Park in Hingham MA and today in Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Watertown & Cambridge, MA. Today’s trip was the stuff of warbler-legends – at one point we stayed looking in two trees for an hour and the birds just kept coming in. Almost every single one of these birds, though, makes their living way up high in the treetops. This is especially true of the warblers, plus they’re small & in constant motion. Makes photography tough, unless you have a larger budget than us, for the giant lenses. But – it was a perfect day to be at Mt. Auburn.
first bird – Magnolia warbler (Setophaga magnolia)
Not a warbler, but a returning breeder; winters down in Central America/northern South America. Rose-breasted grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus). Not a bird we see often; always exciting. This one was cooperative. There was another with it too.
he’s fanning his tail here:
As the morning moved on, it warmed up. Several hawks floating above everything. Juvenile red-tailed hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) .
Northern parula (Setophaga americana) – always a highlight of the spring. I thought they were passing through here en route to northern breeding grounds – well, they are. But the species also breeds throughout the eastern US., except for an east-west swath that includes Massachusetts. I get much of my birding info from the Cornell website – https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Parula/overview
A little closer shot, these are heavily cropped. My lens is just 300mm, so can only pull so far in from the tops of the trees.
Sometimes we’ll go a couple of years without seeing a Blackburnian warbler (Setophaga fusca) – last year I had a 3-second view and never could find him again. This morning we saw two – and I got one “record” shot. Looks like they breed in western Massachusetts, must need more woods than we have here in the eastern part of the state.
All I knew was it was a thrush. Marie said “I think it could be Swainson’s thrush” (Catharus ustulatus) – we caught up with a group a minute later who said they had two Swainson’s that had just flown off – but we had just come up as the birds landed on these stones.
We saw (but didn’t photograph) several black-throated green warblers (Setophaga virens), but did get basic shots of this black-throated blue warbler (Setophaga caerulescens). All you can see in this view is the black throat – the back is a deep blue color.
a female American redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) we’ll get to the male.
The lowest, most cooperative bird of the day – a common yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) this guy does nest around here, I hear them often in my yard, they love to be near water. But sometimes I can go all spring & summer – hear it everyday in the spring, but not see it. This one was working some rhododendron bushes.
here he is again. We saw the female too.
The male redstart. There were lots of these today.
Another non-warbler, the scarlet tanager (Piranga olivacea) – there was a female too, she’s green with dark wings. And a female summer tanager. No photos of either of those.
From Hingham the other day – fewer leaves, another scarlet tanager, one view of his armpit.
Two years in a row, we stumbled upon very cooperative, non-singing veerys (Catharus fuscescens) another thrush.
a blue-gray gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) –
Back home, it’s orioles. Here’s a female Baltimore oriole (Icterus galbula) working our apple trees.
Here’s Daniel’s shot of one of the males today –