Beautiful weekend, nasty cold. Bad combination, but at least on Sunday a big flock of Cedar Waxwings stopped off in the trees around the back yard most of the day. I estimate at least 30, maybe much more, given the noise and the amount of constant movement. Migration’s pretty much over, I’m guessing. Used to be we’d know the end was in sight by the half-dozen Blackpolls that would go through in ones and twos over a half-week, but no Blackpolls for several years now. Hardly any warblers at all, in fact; Parulas seemed to be common, but relatively few Yellow Warblers, and almost none of any others, even Yellow-rumped. Depressing.
There seemed to be a sort of warbler wave going through this morning; several Yellow Warblers, a Redstart or two and a couple of Black-and-Whites were calling around the house (no Parulas, though – unlike yesterday). It was a cool, damp, overcast/high fog kind of morning, which I remember as being a good time for migrants. No thrushes or other birds, though. Last Saturday up the road at Cromwell Bridge we had both Orioles, numerous nesting Gnatcatchers, lots of Parulas, lots of Bluebirds and Tree Swallows (+ Barn and a couple of Rough-winged Swallows) and a bunch of other odds and ends. The usual nesters have settled in: Robins, Catbirds, Mockingbirds, Cardinals and House Sparrows. Goldfinches, House Finches and Carolina Wrens are nesting in the vicinity, but not the yard this year. I think I need to put up the Hummingbird feeder, since they’re back in the area and we should be able to entice them to nest. I think it might be an idea to put up an owl box as well, since we have loads of owl food in the area and lots of dense cover with all the vines.
The day after that last rant, the White-throats had all pulled out for nesting spots. Since then, some nice migrants moving through. Thursday evening, as I was firing up the grill for the spring season, I heard a Brown Thrasher singing around the side of the house, and was able to watch him go for several minutes until he took off down the street. Then, this morning, a Redstart was singing just outside when I got up and a Red-eyed Vireo sang us off from down the street. Tomorrow morning, it’s another birding workshop, and perhaps the weather will be better then. To cap the evening, my birthday present (from me, of course) finally arrived a month late – the cast recording of Peter Pan which I remember so fondly from my childhood. I’m wallowing in the great Cyril Richard’s Hook as I type these words. The rest is somewhat forgettable, but Hook’s songs are about the best Broadway has to offer, in my opinion.
So, the White-throated Sparrows finally (finally!) pulled up stakes and headed North, eh? Haha! Came out of work last evening only to be surrounded by maybe a dozen of the little clowns, whooping it up in the bushes, marching in formation as a brass band, dancing around doing juggling routines and forming human pyramids and the like. OK, I know when I’m licked. I give! Uncle! Stick around all year if you want – shoot, I’ll make room in my basement for you if that’s what you desire. First the infuriating House Mouse that has decided that he (she?) is one of the family and joins us at dinner and during the evening, each time casually trotting past the half-dozen lethal (set, and baited, but unsprung) traps and equal numbers of sticky Tanglefoot pads, not to mention the several containers of D-Con poison. I’m just waiting for it to hop up on my sholder and start making cooking suggestions. And now, the White-throats That Wouldn’t Leave! What, they think they’re Canada Geese now? I’m drifting into Mugato-land; soon I shall be attempting to brainwash a male model into assassinating the Prime Rib of Propecia. I feel like I’m taking crazy pills! It’s May 1, for goodness’ sake! Will no-one rid me of these turbulent sparrows? Argh; I think I’d better go and lie down for a while..