What’s been seen: The birds were on the move in April, as expected, despite our continued generally cold weather. We’ve seen pulses of species come through, larger than normal groups, traveling together, than we would normally see only individually or in pairs. Case in point: The 13 ruby-crowned kinglets seen at Fort Revere Park on April 28. We tend to think of them as somewhat rare sightings here in winter, not as prevalent as their near relatives, the golden-crowned kinglets, which are much more common. But being in the right place at the right time, one birder found that their path intersected with a traveling flock moving northward to breed.
Other early migrants included black-and-white warblers, a northern waterthrush, a blue-gray gnatcatcher, and a northern rough-winged swallow at Fort Revere and Savannah Sparrows at Nantasket Beach (they can winter nearby). From April 21 through the end of the month, the action really picked up.
What to expect this month: Quite frankly, this is the best month to be alive if you are a birder in the United States. Each day brings something new. With about 30 species of warblers moving through, some common, some rare, there is always a new mix to look forward to. It’s entirely possible in May to find 100 species in three or four hours, if you start early and vary your habitats.
Even here in Hull, we can find everything from the sea to the river, from backyards to small forest, not to mention just watching the sky for overhead passing flocks. Listen for eastern phoebes, eastern towhees, and great-crested Flycatchers. Listen for sounds you don’t recognize, and use an app like the Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Merlin or David Sibley’s Song Sleuth to figure out what is happening. Watch Straits Pond for at least three species of swallows – tree, barn, and northern rough-winged, and keep an eye on the beaches for the next waves of migrating shorebirds. Ruby-throated hummingbirds are here. Baltimore orioles are here.
This column could go on, but you and I should both be outside!