Our birding outing on May 20 at Hidden Valley Nature Center, led by Jody Telfair, was a great success. Early arrivals saw a variety of birds right in and near the parking lot, and the rest of us were soon treated to sightings (and audio) of numerous other birds. In addition to the ever-present chickadees, blue jays, crows, and herring gulls, we noted several less common migratory song-birds. Warblers predominated, including a Northern parula (who was a bit shy, but quite vocal), soon followed by a beautiful, bright yellow Canada warbler. He hung around serenading us for several minutes, and allowed everyone a good look at his vibrant color and emerald necklace. A short walk further down the road brought us to a relatively unreserved ovenbird, who also generously posed for some photos. We also glimpsed a large occupied blue jay’s nest in a tall white pine. A bit further on, a pileated woodpecker hammered away in the woods.
When we reached the Barn and the open area nearby, we were greeted by nesting robins and tree swallows, a dark-eyed junco, and an Eastern phoebe (apparently named “Carson”-see photo below). Another large nest was spotted in a tree near the outhouses. We headed back into the woods to find the trail to the bog, and immediately began hearing and seeing more songbirds. A black-and-white warbler hopped around on a tree-trunk, and an elusive but chatty hermit thrush kept just out of sight. At the bog itself, we saw courting ruby-throated hummingbirds (the male perched in a hemlock to rest for a few minutes), a breeding pair of purple finches, and a distant osprey. Heard at the bog, but not seen, were a white-throated swallow and a common yellowthroat. All in all, most of us saw at least one bird that was completely new to us. Thank you, Jody!