At-home Birdwatching Notes for Mon morning, May 12, 2014
At 8:03 a.m., Barney and I began birdwatching outside around our home. Observations:
Ovenbird Warbler sang from the backyard.
Nashville Warbler sang.
Distant Carolina Wren sang.
Three to four Tennessee Warblers sang around our home.
At least two American Redstarts sang.
I saw at least three Swainson's Thrushes visit our backyard.
Red-eyed Vireo sang.
Saw and heard the Yellow-rumped Warbler.
Heard and saw other local birds too, such as ETTI, BCCH, RBWO, NOCA, MODO, HOSP, WBNU, BHCO, DOWO, AMGO, AMRO, BLJA, HAWO, NOFL, HOFI.
Multiple times this morning, I heard a Wood Thrush sing near our backyard. That's a good urban lot observation. I think the bird sang from a neighbor's tree or shrub. Unsure. It seemed close, but their vocals can be misleading, location-wise.
Two or three Blackburnian Warblers observed. Heard and saw at least one male and saw a female. Saw the female in an oak tree over the top of our house. Also saw the male a couple times in oaks over our yard.
The RBWO was not as vocal this morning as it had been the previous two or three days.
Heard and saw a Bay-breasted Warbler.
Heard and saw a Chestnut-sided Warbler.
Saw a TEWA perched low in a backyard oak. Watched it sing its loud and vigorous song.
Saw one TUVU soaring to the southwest, and then TUVU flew low over our home to the northeast.
Three Mallards flew over.
Male Baltimore Oriole landed on power cable along the east side of our house. It perched below the roof line. The cable connects to the meter. The oriole then flew to the south end of our yard.
Saw a Cape May Warbler.
I watched two male Indigo Buntings forage high in oak tree near the south edge of our backyard. The birds foraged about 15 inches from each other. They moved to other trees together too. Migration buddies. They appeared to be adult males. I got clued into their presence by their electronic buzz call note.
Rain came close. Heard distant thunder. Checked radar on my tablet at 9:21 a.m. Line of storms, stretching south to north moved east-northeast through southern Michigan with southern end of the line touching the OH-MI border and dipping into northeast Fulton County. It appeared that the line would miss us, and it did except for a few sprinkles. The line contained cells with heavy rain. A separate cell existed in south central Fulton County that moved northeast, but it missed West Toledo too.
Heard the Blackburnian Warbler sing again near our home.
The morning started with some sunshine peering through the mostly cloudy sky, but by 9:25 a.m, the sky had clouded over. The light dimmed. The birdwatching light got much different. Harder to see birds way up in the tall oaks. But the birdsong remained great.
Heard the electronic buzz of the INBU call note again.
The male and female AMGO visited our feeders.
The WOTH sang again near our backyard.
Chimney Swift flew low over our backyard.
Then wow, instant quiet. No song at 9:34 a.m. Strange. I wondered if a raptor entered the area. I did not hear any sudden alarm notes from BLJA, NOCA, AMRO, nor from any other birds. But it was like a switch had been turned off, disabling the bird song.
At 9:36 a.m., heard the SWTH make its 'weet' or 'wwit' call note. Then heard a BAOR sing some north of our home. But two AMRO gave their soft, high-pitched alarm note.
At 9:37 a.m., some more song resumed from TEWA, CSWA, and WOTH.
Female NOCA visited our feeder.
Blackburnian Warbler sang again over the south end of our backyard.
BAOR sang from high atop an oak over our backyard.
More INBU electronic buzz call note.
Heard a Belted Kingfisher chatter southeast of our house. Is this bird hanging around the nearby spring feed stream, located about a block to the southeast?
I went back inside house at 9:49 a.m. It started to sprinkle rain, but the bird song did not return to the level of song that occurred earlier.
But it was still fine birdwatching around our home. I need to be out earlier, like around 7:00 a.m. if not sooner than that.
The oak trees in and around our yard contain either no leaves or tiny leaves. If the leaves are visible, the leaves are two to three inches long. Clumps of dull, yellow-green colored oak flower hung from the small branches and twigs.
The birds foraged among these dangling oak flower clumps. The small leaves grew near or among the oak flower clumps. The skinny, fuzzy-looking oak flower strands were around two inches long. They'll grow to four to five inches long, and when they fall, they will be brown-colored.
The oaks always lag way behind other hardwoods, regarding leaf development at this time of May. By next week, the maples will be at full leaf. They are close to full leaf now. The sugar maples had a growth spurt for leaf production recently.
Each spring, it seems that the migrating songbirds passing through our area during the second and third weeks of May enjoy foraging among the oak flower clumps. With the tree leaf development a week or two behind normal, then the oaks should be hosting good songbird activity into late May.
Two years ago, the oak flower began falling in late April, and most of the oak flower had fallen by the first week of May. May of 2012 contained the least amount of migrating birdsong activity around our home, since I began birdwatching in 1999. I was amazed at the lack of song around our home in May 2012. That was a tough May to observe migrating birds because of the warm winter and warm spring that pushed foliage growth two to three weeks ahead of schedule, and then I think we did not get the storm systems to push birds further east into our area. I think a lot of the birds that May migrated further west of our area.
In recent years on my walks around our neighborhood, I've noticed more migrating birdsong in May on streets that contain mostly oak trees than on streets that contain more of the other types of hardwood trees. It seems that during the second and third weeks of May in northwest Ohio, the oak trees, specifically the oak flower, attract a lot of Neo-tropical migrating songbirds.
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