You’ve no doubt heard the famous expression, “If the mountain will not come to Mohammed, Mohammed will go to the mountain.” The pithy lesson contained herein reminds us that we control our own destinies, that if someone will not come to us, we must perforce go to them. But what if the mountain had come to Mohammed? I’ve just experienced a phenomenon nearly as fantastic. You see, for various reasons, I’ve been unable to put myself in the proper place to experience the kaleidoscopic madness of spring migration.
But lo and behold, migration has come to me!
The fun started a few days ago. At first, the odd migrant turned up in my yard: a Black-throated Blue Warbler here, a Swainson’s Thrush there. But then a noticed a lot of little birds flitting around my front yards. These birds were enticingly smaller than the House Sparrows that just fledged, so I grabbed my downstairs bins (you also have optocs stashed strategically throughout your house, right?) and took a gander. BAM! Magnolia Warbler!
That handsome fellow wasn’t alone. The trees in my yards and those around me were filled with migrants, including Warbling Vireo, Bay-breasted Warbler, and more Cape May Warblers than I’ve seen at one time in my life. A Nashville Warbler in full song made this special moment all the more momentous.
Those sightings took place around noon, so the next morning found me ready for more hyper-local birding action. The first bird of the day was a Red-eyed Vireo right outside my bedroom window. After the usual morning mayhem subsided here, the birding began in earnest. In no time at all, I added Blackpoll, Tennessee, Yellow, and Blackburnian (!) Warbler to the yard list, all from my driveway. Best of all, I had noticed an interesting silhouette bopping around the brushy corner of my backyard. When I first checked it out, a Magnolia buck bounced out. I suspected something more exciting than that, though, and snooped around a bit more. Good thing I did, because one of my favorite warblers finally emerged… a Canada Warbler!
Yes, my friends, migration has come to me. The blessing brings with it certain downsides of course; writing this, for example, is taking forever because I keep watching the Bay-breasted and Blackpoll Warblers outside my office window. But you’ll probably agree that diminished productivity is a small price to pay when spring migration arrives at your front door!
All photos in this post come from Corey’s June 2010 experience of Wood-Warblers at the Forest Park Waterhole.