Mammals, too, have become inconspicuous. I haven’t seen any this past week except for the usual squirrels in the tree tops.
On Saturday morning I headed out west to Dunrobin again, stopping in at Sarsaparilla Trail first, as usual. I tallied 18 species on my walk, more than I’ve seen there on a single visit so far this year; highlights include Ring-necked Ducks, a pair of Bufflehead, three female Hooded Mergansers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, one Common Grackle, four Purple Finches, four Tree Swallows, and one Eastern Phoebe. Both the Tree Swallows and the phoebe were new for Sarsparilla this year, and both were flycatching over the large pond. I first noticed the phoebe when it landed in the dead tree closest to the observation dock, although it quickly flew off to a more distant snag. Surprisingly, I didn’t see or hear a single sparrow at Sarsaparilla. The juncos seemed to have disappeared and the Swamp Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows haven’t arrived yet.
I had less luck at Shirley’s Bay on Monday. I only observed 18 species, and both shorebird and warbler numbers were down. The three Red-necked Phalaropes were gone, but this time I saw a couple of Killdeer, a couple of Spotted Sandpipers, and a single Sanderling. In the woods I encountered one singing Eastern Wood-Pewee, two Red-eyed Vireos, two Black-and-white Warblers, and one of each of Northern Parula, Magnolia Warbler, Palm Warbler and Black-throated Green Warbler. A little disappointed with the variety, I headed to the Bill Mason Center next where I hoped to find some interesting insects.
After checking Roger’s Pond, I decided to leave the clearing and take the right-hand trail (if facing north, toward Roger Stevens Drive) which looks as though it circles the pond. I have never followed the entire trail around the pond before and was hoping to find the little log shelter I’d seen pictures of in other peoples’ galleries.
The trail immediately plunged into the woods, although in several places only a thin screen of trees separated the forest trail from the pond clearing. At no time did I see the water, but in these open spots I found a singing Chestnut-sided Warbler in all his breeding-plumage beauty and a singing Rose-breasted Grosbeak.
The first day of the Victoria Day long weekend was warm and sunny and gorgeous; it felt more like a day in mid-summer than late spring. I took my insect net out for the first time this season and headed over to the Cedar Grove Nature Trail in Marlborough Forest to see what I could find. Although I knew many of the butterflies and dragonflies unique to Marlborough Forest would not have emerged yet, I still had hopes of finding some interesting reptiles and amphibians. I was also curious as to whether I would find any interesting birds there, as I had never been there before during migration.