Friday, May 21, 2010

There's gold in them thar marshes

The next warbler on my hit list was Prothonotary Warbler, so the target area this morning was the Halethorpe Farms Ponds along the lower Patapsco River. I was not disappointed! As soon as I stepped into the woods between pond #5 and the river I heard a male singing on the opposite (Anne Arundel Co.) side. A second male held a territory by the creek draining the pond into the river and offered a few photo opportunities. While watching the Protho I noticed a lot of warbler activity in the canopies. Turned out they were almost all female Blackpolls, with a few Redstarts mixed in. Also heard a couple N. Waterthrushes chipping in the wet woodlands. On the exposed mudflats at the eastern end of the pond, I counted 7 Spotted Sandpipers, 4 Least Sandpipers and a Killdeer. Two Ospreys were seen fishing around the pond. The third Prothonotary Warbler I heard singing by the pond near the western shore was busy mate-guarding his female on her foraging trips. Nearby, a pair of American Redstarts had set up shop. By adding Warbling Vireo to my yearlist I passed 300 species in the US this year!
Spotted Sandpiper (above) and Yellow Warbler (below):A handsome American Redstart

Tomorrow I am heading out to Delaware Bay to witness the shorebird feeding frenzy on horseshoe crab eggs. I hope to get some shooting done before the forecasted thunderstorms set in.

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