Tanager Hill is, without a doubt, the most beautiful birding location in Simsbury. And it happens to lie directly under the main approach into Bradley Airport. For the sake of our May 9th fieldtrip we had to add seven species of “airline” birds in order to bring our total to forty. Take away the airlines, and our total was a meager thirty-three species. Fortunately, our dilemma was mitigated by spectacular looks at several very cooperative Blue-winged Warblers. Sitting boldly in the sun along the powerline, the Blue-wings dazzled us. Admittedly, their wings are not JetBlue, but they are blue enough to create a wonderful contrast with their vibrant yellow heads and undersides. We suspect that at least several were males, posturing and displaying with the hopes of being United with a willing female. Also putting-on a show was a very cooperative Louisiana Waterthrush. Sitting patiently on a tree limb, it gave us a great opportunity to discuss the differences between it and its close cousin, the Northern Waterthrush. We wondered where this one wintered. Did it come north from the Caribbean ? Or perhaps it arrived from the Southwest, crossing the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi Delta on its way to Connecticut. Although our target bird, the Hooded Warbler, did make a brief appearance, it was seen by only a few of us. Fortunately, the Hooded is a reliable nester at Tanager Hill, and at least one of our participants returned the next day for an excellent look. Finally, a Barred Owl, made a spectacular and unexpected appearance, to the delight of all. Looking regal and All American, he showed lots of Spirit by giving everyone an extended audience. Incredibly, there was no sighting of the namesake Scarlet Tanager. Either he missed his flight, or perhaps he continued non-stop to the Air in Canada.
Doug Beach and Jon Ward