What’s That Warbler?

Black & White Warbler

I went birding yesterday morning at Salisbury Beach State Reservation, a place where I go instead of Parker River WMA when I have the dog with me (which is most of the time.)  Driving slowly along the campground perimeter, I saw a warbler fly in front of the truck and pulled over.  I could see some Black & White warblers through the truck window so I parked and immediately walked into a gaggle of flitting birds. (It was a good day in the area — at Parker River folks saw 22 species of warblers.)

Northern Parula
Black-throated Blue Warbler

The good news was that the trees are rather low and the birds close by.  The bad news is that for a second-year birder, just getting them in the binoculars is a task, and then getting identifying marks etc is a challenge.  Binoculars or camera, write notes or check Sibley’s, — oh for a knowledgeable birder along.  It’s a good problem to have — too many birds, not enough expertise — that’s how you learn.  I took my time, jotted down notes, shot a lot of photos, and came up with three new life birds.


Ovenbirds where everywhere — and unlike at home, easy to spot.  I think that was because there were so many of them.  Black-throated blue warblers likewise were putting on an aerial display going after insects like flycatchers.

I’m sure I missed a number of birds but it was demanding but fun — even when a couple of kids on their bikes set up a BMX route on the trail I was using. 

Black-crowned Night-heron

Leaving the reservation, I spotted a heron-like bird in the marsh and pulled over, let a runner pass, and backed up to the spot.  I shot a couple of photos and tried to figure out what I was seeing — it wasn’t a Great Blue so I tried to make it into a Least Bittern.  It wasn’t until I had a chance to look at the photos closely that I’ve decided it was a Black-crowned Night-heron.  What it was doing up and about in the morning I have no idea?

Migration is so fleeting — a few weeks of birds passing through — and if you miss them, or can’t identify them, it’s wait until next year.  But the flurry of frenetic activity, the chirps and calls, and the colors makes it a special time for birders.

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