Monday, September 12, 2011

First Black-throated Blues

The rain from various hurricanes and tropical storms finally stopped enough this weekend for me to get out and explore a bit. We were lucky, unlike many Pennsylvanians, in how little inconvenience or damage all that rain did to us personally.

The areas we visited over this weekend were really waterlogged and bird behavior was a bit odd. Almost no birds in the shady areas, including one particular area of Devil's Walkingsticks that is normally a good are for finding feeding warblers in fall. I did find my first male and female Black-throated Blue warbler on one plant at Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education on Saturday. But most of the birds were in the few sunlit areas, including one that had a lot of Hercules Club/Devil's Walkingstick, Grape and Crabapple.

All of these fruiting shrubs and trees attract migrants in fall. Here we also found a Gray Catbird feeding on the Hercules Club. Nearby I found my first Swainson's Thrush of the fall. Since I often see them eating Hercules Club at this time of year I expect that if I'd stuck around I would have found him eating as well. Other birds in vicinity were American Redstarts, Northern Parulas, and Red-Eyed Vireos. I didn't see any of them eating the fruit but I have seen Parula and Red-Eyed Vireos eating the fruit in the past. If I hadn't spent 3 hours in the shady areas of SCEE I might have spent more time in this rich sunlit area.

On Sunday my wife and I stopped by quickly. A female Black-throated Blue was eating the fruit and a male American Redstart and Black and White warbler were both nearby though we didn't see either eating.

As we left a group of American Robins were flopping around in some distant Hercules Club, ravenously eating the fruit, just the way that they do each fall.

By the way the large watercolor at top is based on photos and field sketches I made of Black-throated Blues eating Hercules Club fruit last fall.

No comments:

Post a Comment