All of the rain we have been experiencing this spring sure has been for the birds! In keeping up with the spring season, we decided to attend this year’s annual warbler walk sponsored by the Western Maine Audubon chapter. While living in Connecticut, I had gone on a bird walk given by the Audubon Society. I enjoyed the walk very much and wanted to take advantage of attending another walk here in Maine. It seems every May, with good intentions, we plan on making it to this event, but we never seem to make it. Either we have other plans, the weather is too unpredictable or it simply slips our minds. Not this year though. This year, the warbler walk was held on Saturday, May 11th from 7 to 9 a.m., rain or shine. I have to admit, getting up at 5:30 a.m. wasn’t that easy. Especially after going to bed at 1 a.m. If I do go out early for bird watching, it is usually unplanned and after a good night’s sleep. As an avid birder and photographer, I am aware of the spring being an excellent time of year to take advantage of the outdoors for viewing migrating birds. After getting out of bed, we got ourselves together and on the road on time. We didn’t know what to expect for our first warbler walk here in Maine, but the day was fresh and new. We decided there was no time like the present and we seized the day.
We arrived a short time before 7 a.m. and there was already a sizeable group waiting in anticipation in the parking lot.
The entrance to the Whistle Stop Trial in West Farmington.
Our group was led by Kate who knew her stuff and recorded our bird sightings from that day.
As the walk progressed, the clouds began to roll in. Although it was a good day for bird watching, not so much for photography. The morning weather called for clouds and it was supposed to clear up in the afternoon. We even experienced some drizzle on our walk as well. Everyone came prepared with jackets, hats and gloves. I brought these items as well, but I fared quite well on that chilly morning with wearing a warm wool sweater.
Pine (Pinus) branches collecting raindrops.
The wooden trail bridge crossing the Sandy River.
A view of the Sandy River.
Birders in our group spotting an interesting find.
As I mentioned, the day wasn’t so great for photography. The morning gave me an opportunity to take advantage of using my binoculars instead of my camera for a change. We were welcomed by a few full-time resident birds found here in the area such as the downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) and the black-capped chickadee (Poecile atricapillus). We also spotted migrating birds such as the gray catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) and pine warbler (Setophaga pinus). A few highlights from the day and new birds sightings for me, included the brown creeper (Certhia americana), blue-headed vireo (Vireo solitarius) and an ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla). I will be adding these three birds to my birder’s life list and diary.
Raindrops on a branch.
Spotting fern fronds (tracheophytes) along the trail.
Sun peeking out from the clouds.
A blooming yellow trout lily (Erythronium americanum).
The sun eventually came out toward the end of the warbler walk, but sometimes it pays to get outdoors even when the sun isn’t shining. You never know where the day will take you and what you will see. I’m glad we finally made it to the walk this year and maybe we will attend next year’s as well. If you are interested in an event such as this, you should look into local birding events at audobon.org. I hope you are enjoying your spring so far and Happy Birding!