Suddenly Spring

NOWA 5-1-18-1834

Northern Waterthrush

I almost could have called it “Suddenly This Summer” because on May 1 we skipped spring and went straight into summer temperatures by noon. But along with the sudden push of warm air from the south came a lot of migrating birds, and after all, it was finally the real start to Spring Migration.

As luck would have it I was near the lakefront for the last part of the stem cell procedure on my right knee, which consisted of a blood draw early in the morning and then having a few hours before a return to the doctor’s office for the final injection. I realized the location’s potential the week before when I had the major procedure done. The medical building is virtually right across the street from North Pond, which is a favorite hot spot with lakefront birders. The week before it was blustery and cold with only a few of the hardiest migrants. But now I had a birder in my friend Lesa to whom I am grateful for being my chauffeur for the day. I was walking without crutches if moving slowly, but I was walking, and slow is generally good for birding. The slower you move, the more birds you eventually will see. And seeing birds was a great distraction from whatever pain I was feeling.

Perhaps the first warblers to greet us were four or five Ovenbirds poking about in the grass. Even though the weather was warmer, the trees and accompanying insects had not caught up with it yet and so a lot of birds were foraging on the ground for something to eat. The ground is an Ovenbird’s preferred foraging spot anyway. Ovenbirds can be nearly impossible to see on their breeding grounds, but in migration on the lakefront they are all over the place this year. I have seen them since everywhere I go for midday walks near my workplace.

Then it seemed there were Black-Throated Green Warblers everywhere.

Predictably, especially in the grass, were Palm Warblers. A note about these pictures, being my first warbler photographs of the season. The morning started off a bit overcast, and then I had only my 75-300mm lens as it seemed ridiculous to be carrying around anything larger in my compromised condition, so I didn’t get quite the clarity I wanted for many of these birds. But it was just such a joyous way to spend a medical day and provided an extra therapeutic perk altogether.

I am always so happy to see a Lincoln’s Sparrow. It’s not quite rare, but you never see more than one of them at a time, and they’re such delicate-looking little birds.

Yellow-Rumped Warblers were predictable, but not easy to capture as they frantically searched for food.

Our look at the Pine Warbler below was brief, but this is a more unusual species in migration so I am glad I got this shot.

PIWA 5-1-18-1893The three species below are Yellow, Black-and-White, and Nashville Warblers.

Another spring migrant that seems to be showing up in force is the Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.

Meanwhile, on their way out were Golden-Crowned Kinglet on the left and Ruby-Crowned Kinglet on the right, below.

Then there are the migrating Thrushes. Two below are a Swainson’s Thrush on the left and a Gray-Cheeked Thrush on the right.

I have been out since last Tuesday and have a lot more pictures to process and share with you, but it’s been really difficult to get caught up. All I can say is every day I’m a little bit better and there have even been a few moments when I’ve forgotten about my knee altogether!

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White-Crowned Sparrow

Below, two glimpses of a female Eastern Towhee…

I will be back soon with more from Instant Spring Migration. Until then, spring on!

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Tennessee Warbler


10 thoughts on “Suddenly Spring

  1. What a beautiful array of birds. I live in southern NJ, and we also skipped Spring and went into warmer temperatures. The birds are happy though, and so am I, I love sitting on the porch watching them, and waking up to the singing is heavenly.

    • Thanks for your contribution and welcome! I agree with the singing—I managed to record a little last weekend. The birds seemed to appreciate the attention. 🙂

  2. What a variety of Warblers! All together a great group of birds. You’re right to say Suddenly Spring! I’m glad you’re apparently feeling better after your knee procedure. Thanks for the post Lisa. 🙂

    • Thanks H.J.! It was just lucky to be on the lakefront for the first real day of migration action. If I need any more joints done I’ll definitely request a migration date. 🙂

    • I wish I had better eyes. Some times I don’t discover the bird until I see the photograph. But it comes with practice to remember some of these birds we see only twice a year.

  3. Thanks for the photo and ID of the Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher! Just saw a request for an ID of the same bird on another blog. Now I can look like I know something about birds!

  4. I feel like we’re going straight to summer too here in the mid-Atlantic region! Beautiful images and such a variety, well done, Lisa! Glad to hear your now getting on the road to recovery with your knee. I read up on your type of procedure when I read your last post. I’m going through some knee issues and might be getting some gel injections. I wondered about your type of procedure as I am not ready to get my knee replaced. Had my other one done a year ago due to a fall, still recovering from it! 🙁

    • Sorry to hear about your knees! I’ve had issues for years but this last thing with the right knee just wasn’t getting any better so rather than go through the usual again with the surgeons I decided to try the stem cell procedure. The recovery period is 3-6 months and beyond, but at least I’m moving! I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a quick fix – the problems I came in with are still there, but this is to help my body heal them. Every day I get a few more of those little glimpses of normal…before I go back to “ouch!”

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