Winds change — birds return!

It was looking as if we were not going to have a real spring migration in the New York area. The first three days of the week were awful! On Wednesday, May 7, I spent two early-morning hours in the Ramble and had just a single warbler.

Then on Wednesday evening the winds switched to southerly, and Thursday turned out to be very good, though marred by intermittent rain in the morning that soon became heavy and chased birders out of the park. By afternoon the sun was out, and the songs of warblers could be heard all over the Ramble again. I had 14 total warbler species, and added six new birds for the year: Yellow-throated VireoVeery, Blue-winged WarblerMagnolia Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, and Scarlet Tanager.

Today, Friday the 10th, was even better. Species variety and individual numbers were by far the highest for the year and on par with the best spring days of 2012. A single oak at Summit Rock produced over a dozen migrants over twenty minutes of watching. I added Swainson’s Thrush, Bay-breasted Warbler, Canada Warbler, Wilson’s Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, and Summer Tanager.

My total for the year now is 149 species, not far behind the 158 I had at this time last year. You can tell I am not going for another big year because I did not run to the Blockhouse area in the North End to get the ultra-rare American Bittern that was reported there. Nor did I chase the nearby Black-billed Cuckoo.