Wednesday, September 28, 2005
You couldn't tell it by the weather. (It was in the 90s all week.)
It wasn't evident from the beautiful colors of the changing leaves. (A lack of rain has them all turning brown.)
But the invasion of neotropical migrants heading south must mean that it's really true. It's autumn!
Around this time of year you can spot birders easily too. They're the ones walking around massaging their sore necks.
Warblers, the ne plus ultra of passerine migrants, are known for spending most of their time high in the tippy tops of trees. So birders spend most of their time craning their necks to spot them. And we're among those nuts who spent more money on their binoculars than on their TV sets.
Another funny thing that most birders do is to keep lists. Life lists, year lists, trip lists, and so forth. It can become very competitive. (I've seen more birds than you have, nyah nyah nyah!) We are not such great listers, but we do keep a yard list. At our last house in the suburbs, we had such a great yard list that I hated to leave! We are gradually building the list here.
This week we had two new yard birds to add to our list. The first was one of my favorite warblers, the Blue-winged warbler (Vermivora pinus). I love the "raspberry" noise that is their song. Sounds like they're continually thumbing their little beaks at you. We saw two males travelling together, and heard a third one singing. A treat!
The other new birds were unexpected: a flock of Double-Crested Cormorants (Phalacrocorax auritus) flying overhead! Not exactly warblerish, but I did strain my neck a little.