All our wishing must have worked because it was even warmer and stiller in Estabrook Park this morning than yesterday. Not only were the bugs out in swarms and the birds out in droves, but there was a chorus of toads singing at the riverbank for nearly the length of the park, and it was amazing for about three hours. Then, as if someone flipped a switch, it felt like a big bubble of warm, moist air boiled upwards, and a blast of cool, lake air blew in from the east. That’s just one of the treats of living beside Lake Michigan.
Anyway, before the weather changed, it was often difficult to keep track of all the different birds in one tree, and I’m sure I missed many of them, but here’s one that didn’t get away, a male ruby-throated hummingbird.
I know its “ruby” throat looks mighty dark, and I looked up the black-chinned hummingbird, but their range doesn’t extend east of the Rockies, so it must be just a trick of the light. In fact, the fine folks at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology suggest that “in some lights the throat of the adult male can appear black,” and we had “some” light this morning. In any case, here it is sipping nectar from tree blossoms, which I did not know they would do.
Next I spotted this female rose-breasted grosbeak, perhaps looking for those two dashing males we saw at the start of May.
I stopped by the pond, and the goslings were still fine, but I didn’t see anyone new, so I headed to the river where I found a solo blue-winged teal drake.
We’ve been lucky with teal sightings this spring, so the bigger surprise was spotting this toad in the river and taking a short break from singing.
On my way back south, I found make-out point with dozens of toads in the water jockeying for position.
Back up on the bluff and just before the cool wind blew in from the lake, I spotted this darling female chestnut-sided warbler. Her slim appearance, compared to this plump-looking male by the pond from last year, should give you some idea of how warm it was this morning.
Just across the path from Mrs Chestnut, I also spotted this striking, white-crowned sparrow.
Back in the treetops, here’s a Canada warbler, whom I first thought was a female magnolia warbler, but this is not the first time I’ve made that mistake. Ha! Someday I’ll learn, right?
Finally, after the weather changed, but before everyone fled, here’s a yellow-bellied flycatcher, whom I thought was another least flycatcher until I got home and took a look at its nice yellow belly in this picture.
In addition to all the birds and toads, this warm weather has also brought out a bunch of new blossoms, and here’s some white Trillium.
Here’s some yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum), a distinct species from the slightly-smaller white trout lily (Erythronium albidum) that opened a week or two ago.
And finally, the Virginia bluebells are open.
Phew! I’d better charge up my camera battery real good after this morning, and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings.