Text and photo by John J. Galluzzo
What’s been seen: We were a little bit light on the songbirds in May, but then, Hull is not ideally suited habitat-wise for many of the warbler species that pass through here anyway.
If you happened to the top of Farina Road and Fort Revere Park mid-month, though, chances are you heard some warblers singing. One birder took in Black-throated Blue Warblers, Yellow Warblers, American Redstarts and Common Yellowthroats during one visit, with a pair of Black-crowned Night-herons on the wing as well. By mid-month, if you were standing at the base of the cemetery looking out to Spinnaker Island, you would have seen that Common and Least Terns had returned as well. On the Weir River, all went generally as it should. Snowy and Great Egrets had returned, Greater Yellowlegs foraged for food and Ospreys continued their nesting process. Straits Pond featured Tree, Barn and Northern Rough-winged Swallows, the aforementioned egrets and terns, and even a Bald Eagle sighting on May 10.
In all, it was a busy month for the birds on our little peninsula.
What to expect: Now, the great settling-in begins. While May is about migration, June is for lovebirds. The songs will quiet down as the month goes on, for two reasons. First, many of the singing species have moved north to breeding grounds from Boston to Canada. Second, those birds that are planning to spend their summer in Hull will have other things to do. You can’t sing while carrying nesting materials or food for nestlings. The mornings will become a little quieter, but they’ll also be a time to exercise your powers of observation, to really see the variability of bird courtship and nesting. Each species has its own quirks and specialties, from nesting material choices to favorite foods.
And yet, migration continues. Shorebirds will continue to raise northward over the next month and a half, gunning for the Arctic Circle, where they will quickly nest, breed, get their young started and dash back south again starting in August. We’ll get a little bit of a front row seat to both actions, north and south migrations, if we take the time to watch the beach, bay and muddy pond and river edges.