Thursday, April 30, 2020

April on Skidaway Island - in spite of the Coronavirus

No doubt spring is the time to get out with a camera and search out colorful migrants.  I did the same, but mostly with a sound recorder since this is also the time of year when they are most vocal.  The month's highlight for me was recording a rare visitor, the Blackburnian Warbler.  While I was at it I did manage to identify 107 species on the island for this month, a little better than my average over the past 10 years.

At the same time I am a strong advocate for creating your own bird garden, right in your backyard.  There are only a few migrating song birds attracted to feeders.  If they are going to stop by your place it is usually for water.  Water and cover are the magnets for migratory birds.  Cover provides shelter, and bugs for the protein they need to continue their long trips. Water for drinking and bathing.

Of course, new photo opportunities abound with strategically placed shrubs, trees and water features.  Here are some of my results from my garden during the month of April,  including some local birds which do come to the feeders, and even a real ordinary bird like a Common Grackle. 


Black-and-white Warbler.
For a bird with only two colors this male is pretty spectacular. 


Brown-headed Nuthatches don't often pause long enough for a picture.  You take what you can get.



Gray Catbird. A frequent winter visitor, but more commonly seen as a migrant. 
A voracious eater of suet and peanuts for protein and fat to make the rest of the haul.



A female Northern Parula.  This one and her mate often come to the water feature for a bath.


The poorly named Worm-eating Warbler can sneak right by you
without your knowing it was even there. This was shot from inside the house.


Yellow-rumped Warbler.  We have them all winter, but they never dress up until spring, like this male. 
The last have gone through by the end of April. If you see them out west they will have a yellow throat. 
Many still refer to them by their original names, Myrtle Warbler in the east and Audubon's Warbler out west.


A female Yellow-throated Warbler. They are not considered migratory.
This breeding species is particularly fond of suet.
And year-round it is a pleasure to look at.
 
Common Grackle can look like a pretty ho-hum blackbird,
but look closely as the purple/bronze hues in it body feathers. In fact,
until the early 1980's this species was universally known as Bronzed Grackle.