The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 23, 2008


Spring bird walk finds Scarlet Tanagers plentiful, but few other migrants

Seventeen birders turned out for the 37th annual Spring Bird Walk on the Towle Conservation Land Sunday morning May 18. It was a fine, bright morning, with pleasant temperatures and fewer than usual mosquitoes. Although migrants were scarce, some of the resident species put on a good show, starting with a brilliant male Scarlet Tanager along the path by the pond. Two male Bobolinks (same as the last two years) were displaying to one female in the main field, although more females may have been hidden in the tall grass. And two Eastern Bluebird pairs were at boxes, one at each end of the field. Baltimore Orioles were plentiful, and a Wild Turkey, a regular here since 2005, called from the edge of the woods.

Several resident wood warblers sang on territory. A pair of Northern Waterthrushes was heard on the Bingham Road side of the Towle woods. Ovenbirds, heard almost constantly as the group traversed the woods, frustrated all attempts to see them. Other warblers noted were a Black-throated Green Warbler, a Common Yellowthroat, and a Pine Warbler. Three vireo species were found – Warbling, Blue-headed, and Red-eyed (heard but not seen).

One apparent migrant did put in a brief appearance – a Northern Harrier (formerly known as Marsh Hawk) was spotted flying north, the first ever recorded on the Towle Land. A Red-tailed Hawk, chased by crows, put in an appearance over Hamilton’s meadow, where Red-winged Blackbirds and Tree Swallows were plentiful (but no Bobolinks). Also seen on the edge of the meadow were Chimney Swifts, Barn Swallows and a pair of Eastern Kingbirds.

After hearing a Hermit Thrush and an Eastern Wood Pewee, and seeing or hearing half a dozen more Scarlet Tanagers, the group attempted, without success, to find that rare wildflower, the Fringed Polygala. The walk ended with a total species count of 45, not bad for a nearly migrant-less day. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito