Roaring Brook Nature Center Field Trip Report – May 2, 2021

Four members and friends of the Hartford Audubon Society met field trip leader, Jay Kaplan, in the Roaring Brook Nature Center parking lot on Sunday, May 2, 2021 at the bright and early hour of 6:30 am.  The 2.5 hour itinerary included a leisurely walk along the Nature Center trails, and those on the adjacent Werner’s Woods, state-owned property for which the Nature Center serves as steward.  It was immediately apparent that the morning would be an improvement over the previous day, as scarlet tanager and veery were heard from the parking lot for the first time this year.  The strong northwest wind that had begun Friday night and carried through much of Saturday had abated, allowing for an influx of spring migrants the night prior to our walk.  A flowering crabapple adjacent to the Nature Center building provided a good site for warblers with yellow-rumped and northern parula feeding in the blossoms.  The fields around the old barn were especially productive with three singing Baltimore orioles, eastern towhees and gray catbirds easy to see.  The wind, having shifted to the south, was ideal for migrants, and looking up offered views of migrating double-crested cormorants, as well as common merganser and Canada goose going somewhere.  The fields also served up tree and barn swallows, eastern bluebird, and a couple of brief looks at a Cooper’s hawk; a pileated woodpecker flying across the field was an added bonus. We headed back into the woods in search of both migrants and resident songbirds.  One bird of note that seemed very interested in a particular dead hemlock tree was a female, red-breasted nuthatch, and we wondered if there might be a nest nearby.  Red-breasted nuthatch is not a common breeder in these woods, but following an irruption of these birds last winter, it is more likely that some will remain to nest.  Perhaps the most interesting sighting was a pair of purple finches feeding on catkins high in a black birch tree.  Purple finch is now an uncommon breeder in our area.  The calls and songs of winter wren, wood thrush, blue-headed vireo, and several warblers including the uncommon worm-eating warbler, serenaded us we headed back to the Nature Center.  We ended our trip with a barred owl calling from the woods near the building and a ruby-throated hummingbird zoomed over our heads while we compiled our lists.  The total for the morning was 53 species including 9 warblers.   A trip list is found below.

Jay Kaplan, Trip Leader

Trip Birds

  1. Canada Goose
  2. Common Merganser
  3. Double-crested Cormorant
  4. Great Blue Heron
  5. Black Vulture
  6. Cooper’s Hawk
  7. Red-shouldered Hawk
  8. Mourning Dove
  9. Barred Owl
  10. Red-bellied Woodpecker
  11. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker
  12. Downy Woodpecker
  13. Hairy Woodpecker
  14. Pileated Woodpecker
  15. Eastern Phoebe
  16. Blue-headed Vireo
  17. Blue Jay
  18. American Crow
  19. Tree Swallow
  20. Barn Swallow
  21. Black-capped Chickadee
  22. Tufted Titmouse
  23. Red-breasted Nuthatch
  24. White-breasted Nuthatch
  25. House Wren
  26. Winter Wren
  27. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
  28. Ruby-crowned Kinglet
  29. Eastern Bluebird
  30. Veery
  31. Wood Thrush
  32. American Robin
  33. Gray Catbird
  34. Ovenbird
  35. Worm-eating Warbler
  36. Louisiana Waterthrush
  37. Black-and-white Warbler
  38. Common Yellowthroat
  39. Northern Parula
  40. Palm Warbler
  41. Yellow-rumped Warbler
  42. Black-throated Green Warbler
  43. Eastern Towhee
  44. Chipping Sparrow
  45. Song Sparrow
  46. White-throated Sparrow
  47. Scarlet Tanager
  48. Northern Cardinal
  49. Common Grackle
  50. Brown-headed Cowbird
  51. Baltimore Oriole
  52. Purple Finch
  53. American Goldfinch

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