Thanks to the fickle wet and windy weather and some limitations on my mobility, this has been the least bountiful spring migration I have experienced over many years of birding. As a kid in New Jersey I remember early May, with warblers dripping off the nearly bare but budding branches. Even when immersed in the world of work there were always brief opportunities to greet the hordes of neotropical migrants. I often would see a dozen or more warbler species along with many vireos, orioles, buntings, tanagers and thrushes.
Over the years, the trees have flowered and leafed out earlier in the spring, often making it more difficult to see and identify arriving birds. This spring I have had to wait for them to come to me. Our surrounding hardwood forest is not as diverse as Connecticut's many other areas of mixed woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, lakes, rivers and even ocean beaches.
Although I heard the songs of a couple of warbler species and obtained some quick views, the only satisfactory photos have been those of a Black-and-White Warbler:
A highlight this past week has been a Scarlet Tanager. There was a male accompanied by a female. The latter has olive green plumage where the male is red. She blended so well with the leaves high in the canopy, that I did not obtain a single clear photo. The male posed for a few seconds out in the open, allowing me a few decent clicks. I discarded more that 70 unusable images. These are four of the seven images I salvaged:
A male Eastern Towhee sang vigorously from a perch at the edge of the back yard. I suspect that a nest is quite nearby:
A Red-eyed Vireo caught an insect...
...and posed with the trophy:
Portrait views show only a hint of the red in its eyes:
The three crabapple trees are surrounded by a border of blue "Cat's Meow" catmint (Nepeta faassenii):
The bees love the flowers. Bumblebees were most common early in the spring. Last year we saw very few honeybees, but they now seem to predominate:
In late May, a huge low cloud of smoke from forest fires in Nova Scotia and mainland Canada caused dense morning fog for several days. On afternoons it settled in the Connecticut River valley, obscuring our view of Hartford:
A fast-moving cold front produced hail and heavy rain, quickly dropping the temperature from the lower 90s°F (~33.3°C) down to 42°F (5.5°C ). In this photo the top of the smoke cloud is barely visible behind the approaching rain shafts:
Canadian smoke has returned with fury for the past few days. Schools have curtailed outside activity and a health alert has been posted. Here is the view at mid-day yesterday. See: Canaries outside the coal mine: Are Connecticut’s birds being affected by smoke from Canada’s wildfires?
On May 30, the calm surface of the lake mirrored the cloudless sky :
This week's header: Ruby-throated Hummingbird male
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