Another warbler season is in the books.
Sure, there are still the late-migrant stragglers that will be seen into mid-June and, of course, the ones that will nest and stay with us all summer, but the peak of the warbler season has, sadly, passed.
For me personally, I did not see a huge variety of warblers, but I did see plenty of the more common warbler species over the last few weeks.
The warbler sightings, for me, started in late April with a walk that yielded dozens of yellow-rumped warblers. Over the last few weeks, it has been largely blue-winged warblers, common yellowthroats and American redstarts. In the last week or so, yellow warblers have been showing up more and more on my walks and are becoming the dominant warbler species.
Those are also the main warblers that will nest in my area of New England. Each part of New England has its common nesting warblers and, thankfully, we will get to see them throughout the summer. If we are lucky, we’ll see their youngsters too.
It has been fun over the last couple of years getting to know the American redstart and blue-winged warbler better. I found a few places where redstarts nest, and I visit there frequently in late spring into early summer. Redstarts are, in my opinion anyway, one of the more interesting-looking birds and remind me of Halloween every time I see one. The black and orange coloring is unique in the warbler world. At least among the ones we see in New England.
Blue-winged warblers are largely yellow, like many warblers that nest or pass through New England, but their unique, black eye straight gives them a different type of look – almost like a little bandit. Blue-winged warblers are also unique and fairly easy to find from their insect-like call. It appears to be a rather subtle call, but it can be heard from far away, especially during an early morning walk when the world is still quiet and calm.
Yellow warblers and common yellowthroats will nest throughout New England. In both cases, the birds are usually heard before they are seen. That is if they are seen at all, as they like to hang out in brushy areas and remain hidden if possible. Yellowthroats often like to stay low to the ground in their skulking.
I’ve focused on warblers in this column, but I also had some good luck finding other colorful songbirds such as rose-breasted grosbeak, indigo bunting and scarlet tanager. I watched a female rose-breasted grosbeak collect nesting material a few weeks ago. It’s good to know they will be sticking around and raising young here.
With spring migration mostly behind us, what’s next for birders? Birds won’t be as noisy or active as they have been over the last several weeks, and the variety won’t be as great, but watching them raise young is always a highlight of late spring and early summer. Of course, many birds have had their first broods already, but the nesting and rearing will last for the next few months.
Every season has something to offer birdwatchers. There’s always something interesting to observe so be sure to get out there as much as possible.