Wednesday, August 23, 2017

First Migrant Bird of the Season!

August can be kind of a "dry" time for finding new birds, well at least at Palmer Lake Park anyways. Seems like all the best birds have gone somewhere else by now. The first thing that caught my eye was a Cabbage White Butterfly on the south end. It was nectaring from the tiny yellow flowers of some wild (and likely invasive) mustard. The Cabbage White is a very common and easy to find butterfly but somewhat difficult to photograph as they just never hold still. The next thing I found got me excited for birds again though; a Northern Waterthrush! This little bird is a member of the Warbler family, though you're more likely to find it on the ground near muddy banks versus up in the trees. This bird is actually already returning back south! One can see them for 2 to 3 weeks maybe in the springtime, then they are on their way further north to breeding grounds. A couple of years ago I came across another one around this same time, maybe even earlier. It's surprising how soon some birds migrate back south. Shorebirds are typically first, followed by waterfowl, but that is just a generalization and each species is different. I spent quite a bit of time following this bird around trying for a better photo, but for all my efforts this was the best I could do. Later I spotted another bird that stood out, but for my inability to identify it. Juvenile sparrows are notoriously difficult to ID, but I see some good indicators here for a young Swamp Sparrow. I'm still not 100% sure but that would be my best guess. Other birds seen today include; American Redstart (male and female) and a Gray Catbird.

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