Friday, March 16, 2007

Early Arrival

Friday, March 16, 2007
Our mid-meadow brown thrasher on his first day back in 2006.

While doing a radio interview this morning on the phone in the tower room, Julie spotted a shockingly early spring returnee: a brown thrasher (!) was scratching around in the detritus under the bird feeders. She said it was painful being on the radio and not being able to shout the sighting down the stairs to me! This is at least a week early--maybe two--for this bird to have returned here to our ridge-top farm. Of course it could just be a migrant. I'm assuming it's a male heading back north early to claim his territory. Welcome dude! Hope you hang around!

We're not worried for Mr. Thrasher's safety since we have plenty of sumacs, dogwoods, and other fruit-bearing trees/shrubs still retaining some of their offerings. And we'll put extra suet dough out, scatter some cracked corn and mixed seed under the brambles where thrashers love to thrash. I only wish the weather were better—it's 40 degrees and raining hard.

We've had a few other signs of spring this week. Peepers are calling as are mountain chorus frogs. The woodcock seems to be in mid-season form with no delays between song flights. Meadowlarks, kestrels, killdeer, and skeins of Canada geese are overhead each day. The tree buds are swelling regardless of species. Crocuses and daffodils are strutting their stuff. The lawn and meadow are beginning to look more green than brown. All the resident birds are singing and all the woodpeckers are playing percussion, beating out their love tattoos on hollow trees. The mourning doves are doing their stiff-winged courtship flights where they briefly look exactly like an accipiter, causing birders everywhere to make bad ID calls.

So spring is arriving, even though it still feels like late winter out there.


On March 16, 2007 at 2:40 PM Bill of the Birds said...

Quick update. I heard the thrasher whisper-singing in the meadow, right where a pair nested last spring. So it IS a male, and he's, at least provisionally, on territory!

On March 17, 2007 at 11:47 AM Sara said...

It seems that all your efforts to create good habitat are successful.
How wonderful to have bluebirds, mockers, brown thrashers, and a meadow sprite right in your own backyard !

On March 17, 2007 at 2:16 PM Mary said...

You certainly have a multitude of birds surrounding you.

I am one of those clucks who has mistaken a mourning dove as an accipiter and snapped away, holding my breath... LOL!

On March 18, 2007 at 8:15 PM Larry said...

I"ve been lucky enough to see Brown Thrashers near my home in Portland CT. each year for the past four years in the spring and fall.I have a hard time finding them in the summer and I'm not sure if they nest there or not. I'm still trying to figure that one out. They seem much more quiet and sneaky in the summer. It's also hard to find them because everything is overgrown.

On March 19, 2007 at 10:11 AM Julie in VT said...

I've seen Brown Thrashers at Parker River Wildlife Refuge on multiple occasions, but only once anywhere near where I live in Vermont (and the once was something I just saw briefly and -suspect- was a B.T.). It's one of those birds that is tough to get good pictures of, at least from where I've seen it but I do have a couple:

On March 20, 2007 at 6:33 AM katdoc said...

Ahh - thank goodness! I'm not the only idiot who has said "Sharp-shinned..., naw, it's just another MODO." I don't know how many times those guys have fooled me. I have also taken them for kestrels when I see one perched on a power line in a pseudo-falcon posture.

So, did Julie plant the peas?