Early start to spring migration

My first ovenbird, hiding deep in the bushes.

My first Louisiana Waterthrush at the fountain.

An unidentified bird on the top. Any ideas?  The 2nd one is a Cape May Warbler.

Eastern kingbird high up in the tree.

A blurry shot of a young blue grosbeak. I thought his color was interesting. I guess he’s molting into his adult male colors.

An osprey with a fish.

And a pretty moth.

By  mid April there hadn’t been too many birds passing through on their way north for the summer.  I headed down to Fort Desoto Park expecting not to find too much. As usual there were more people than birds on the trails. Not too many birds but some good ones. Two new birds for me, the ovenbird and waterthrush so it was a good morning.

Our World Tuesday Graphicimage-in-ing

Rainbow of birds for spring migration

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I think the indigo bunting was my favorite bird of the day. Last spring I could not get a decent picture of him. When I first got the woods I saw a flash of blue and didn’t see him again for a while. Later, while standing in front of the fountain talking to some other birders, he landed right on the base of the fountain. He bounced around for at least 10 minutes from branch to fountain.

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I totally blew this shot out. I had been taking pictures of birds deep in the bushes early in the morning and had my ISO too high. When I drove over to the other section of woods, as soon as I got out of the car I saw the scarlet tanager in the tree and immediately started snapping. Then I realized he was in full sun and I hadn’t lowered my ISO. A second later he flew off.  So the shot overall is too bright but I’m just glad I got him.

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This one I took right into the sun and then had to blow out to get the details. I think this is another scarlet tanager but we had heard there were summers around and I was hoping it was a summer instead. I can’t really see his wings in this picture to tell. Any experts have an opinion?

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Later in the morning, when I came back to the mulberry bushes, they were full of orchard orioles. I only saw males while I was there. They were all busy eating the berries.

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Another one with berries pieces in his beak.

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Not a good picture but it was the only one I got of an american redstart.

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Is this a gray kingbird or an eastern kingbird? People were calling it both. All About Birds does not even show a gray kingbird in their list, only the eastern. He was flying back and forth between the mulberry bushes with some lunch left on his beak.

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My first red eyed vireo.

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I thought this was a red eyed vireo at first. I’m thinking it’s the same bird as the picture before it and that I just couldn’t see it’s red eye. It also looks like a female redstart.

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The very common gray catbird. The mulberry bushes were full of them. This one had red all over his face from eating the berries. What a feast.

The mulberry bushes at the trails have signs posted saying “Do not pick the fruit.” Just in case a tourist wanted to have a snack and wipe out an entire bush. The birds migrating through in spring count on these bushes for fuel to get them home up north. They are exhausted and hungry when they stop by Fort Desoto for a rest. The bushes were full of birds in early April. They were all busy eating and most birds had a little berry juice stained on their beaks and faces. Most of these pictures were taken standing in front of the big mulberry bushes or at the water fountain so I didn’t have to travel far. Just stand in one place and have patience (which I don’t have a lot of).

Check out more birds at Paying Ready Attention for

New birds at Fort Desoto

I have seen one other eastern kingbird. But it was from far away while I was kayaking.

My first orchard oriole. This one was female. I have to laugh though. I was getting confused because there were so many birders out this morning and then the above would fly by and they would say “There’s an oriole.”. Then the one below would fly by and someone else would say the same thing. I kept thinking “someone doesn’t know their birds very well.” People keep calling two different birds the same thing. Well, I was the one who didn’t know. The below is the male version. They look so different.

My first male orchard oriole sighting.

My first northern parula.

Not a first bird, night herons are everywhere here. We were quietly sitting in front of Larry’s fountain hoping something tiny and cute would fly up and all we got was this big thing. He looked around like “Why are all these people sitting around in the woods?” He took a couple of drinks and left.

The woods were full of butterflies.

A couple of weekends ago I headed down to Fort Desoto. This was before the big “fall out” weekend but I had heard there were a few migratory birds already there. I headed to the mulberry bush woods and there was already a traffic jam through the trails. Rush hour traffic looking for birds. (And my hubby thinks I’m the only one.) The best part was having a lot of experts around to help with IDs (unless they got any of the above wrong). It saved me some time looking randomly for tiny birds in my Stokes 800 page guide. It was a beautiful morning to be at the park. I spent most of the day there before getting a flat tire on the Howard Franklin bridge on the way home. Triple A came to my rescue.