Perhaps to make up for yesterday, this morning turned out to be even nicer than forecast. The skies were clear, the temps were mild, and the wind seemed even calm at times.
I was able to get a nice early start and was treated by the sight of this palm warbler, just in from the Gulf of Mexico, and if not my first for the season, then certainly the first I’ve managed to capture on film for the season. The picture is pretty grainy because it was still so dark, but I’ll take what I can get, and it is certainly good enough for a positive ID.
Just north of the palm warbler, I could hear a high-pitched but clear call close by that I didn’t recognize, so I asked Merlin®, who confidently picked “brown creeper”, and sure enough, I spotted our little singer not 10 feet away. We’ve seen plenty of them already this spring, but I don’t recall hearing one sing before, so that was fun.
Just before I turned east to swing by the pond, I checked in on our nesting robin, and she was home at the moment, so I couldn’t get an egg-count today. Maybe tomorrow.
I was surprised and thrilled to have the pond to myself for a few minutes, and these wood ducks came over to see if I had any snacks for them. “Not today, sweeties, but it’s a beautiful Saturday morning, and I bet some old guys with snacks will arrive pretty soon.”
Even better, right on the lawn I spotted a white-throated sparrow, a field sparrow, and this yellow-rumped warbler already lit up by the warm morning sun.
The resident red-breasted merganser was there again, and took advantage of the perfect conditions to show off a bit.
If that wasn’t enough, a belted kingfisher came by looking for his breakfast.
By then other folks were starting to arrive, so I headed back over to the river and bumped into my spotter, Lisa, who pointed out this female kingfisher who had already caught her breakfast. She was a long way off, so the picture’s not great, but she was thrashing her catch pretty good to subdue it before she gulped it down. By the little legs I can just make out on it, I’d guess it’s a crayfish. Mm, mm, good!
I didn’t get any better pictures at the river, so I risked the crowds and hiked back over to the pond. There I finally got a picture of one of the white-throated sparrows I’d been hearing singing their ode to Canada and maybe even the one who had been on the lawn earlier.
Finally, as I was about to head on home, someone mentioned that a green heron had been spotted, and Mike was willing to point out to me where it was hiding in the brush at the water’s edge. Happily, it came out into the sun after a while, and so I hustled around to the east side to get the sun at my back. I really didn’t want to spook it and miss the shot, so I remembered my lessons from earlier this spring and prostrated myself on the path to inch close enough to capture this image. “Welcome back, you emerald beauty!”
By then, the park was full of river cleanup volunteers, sure glad to see’em, marathon runners, good for them, and cow-bell ringing fans, so I didn’t expect to see much more wildlife and got the heck out of Dodge.