The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 25, 2007


A soggy but successful spring bird walk for tried-and-true birders

After four days of rain, with a light drizzle and more rain probably on the way, it required courage, good boots, and a touch of insanity to wake up at 5:30 on Sunday morning, May 20, for the 36th annual Spring Bird Walk on the Towle Conservation Land. Nevertheless, nine bleary-eyed birders, led by Ken Harte, did just that and were rewarded with the best warbler migration since 1994 plus several unusual species. If anything dampened the spirits of this group, it was not rain but the difficulty of actually seeing many of the treetop singers.

Warbler species seen, mostly around the parking lot, were a Tennessee, a Magnolia, two Black-throated Greens, and two Black-and-whites. Found singing but seen fleetingly or not at all were a Nashville Warbler, two Black-throated Blue Warblers, an American Redstart, a Common Yellowthroat, a Northern Waterthrush (yes!), and five Ovenbirds.

Other birds of interest were a Least Flycatcher, picked up by D'Ann Brownrigg's sharp ears near the road, just west of the pond (not seen on the Towle Land since 1990), a Green Heron at the pond (for the fourth time in the 36 years of this walk), a Wild Turkey (found at the Towle Land only since 2005), two Eastern Bluebirds, and two male Bobolinks (same as last year).

Not a bird but a fungus were several balls of slimy orange fingers attached to Eastern Red Cedars in the extreme western corner of the land. Liz Carpenter, who happens to be writing a Biodiversity Corner column on this parasite for the Mosquito (see page 12), was thus able to identify it as Cedar-Apple Rust. And three specimens of that rare wildflower Fringed Polygala were found, as they are every year, along the Inner Loop Trail.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito