Birding by ear Part V

Red-breasted sapsucker at Wildwood Bluffs, 2015 - A. Bryant

Birding by ear Part V
by Andrew Bryant, 25 April 2015.

Pierre Geoffray and Neil Hughes led eight of us on a leisurely ear-birding expedition along along the muddy trails behind the Italian Hall.  We started at the crack of eight and walked neither fast nor far.

The rains held off, but the woods were relatively quiet.  There were a few warblers (Orange-crowned, Yellow-rumped, McGillivray’s, Black-throated Gray, Townsend’s  and Common Yellowthroat) which were skittish and hard to photograph, but provided wonderful practice for the ears.  The Spotted Towhees and Song, White and Golden-crowned sparrows also showed off their amazing repertoires.  We saw or heard a total of 30 species.  Pierre has posted a complete checklist on eBird that can be seen here.

Highlights for me were hearing a Common Loon from the bluffs, encountering a very cooperative Red-breasted Sapsucker, seeing the nice gaggle of Turkey Vultures as we were leaving, and hearing and watching numerous Rufous Hummingbirds performing their vibrant and wonderful “J”-shaped courtship flights.

Also of note were the flowering salmonberries, Pacific bleedingheart (Diocentra formosa), and carpets of sea pink (Armeria maritima) atop the rocky outcrops.

All in all an enjoyable and educational day out, even if that Yellowthroat was more than a little bit exasperating!