Spring migration has begun, and the warblers have started arriving here in central New Jersey. Within the past few days, I’ve seen palm warblers, a yellow warbler and common yellowthroats, all welcome returnees to my neck of the woods.
As these birds and more arrive, I need to remind myself as I wander through the woods to look up to the tippy-top branches of the tallest trees. That’s where many warblers congregate, if only for fleeting moments.
At the Mercer Meadows Pole Farm on Thursday, I spotted movement well above me and was delighted to watch four palm warblers flitting about on the upper half of a tall tree at an intersection of two paths near the old AT&T Building One oval.
During migration, I must not only train my eyes but also crane my neck to spot arriving species. As a result, I take many “bird butt” photos and other shots showing the undersides of our feathered friends.
If I’m patient and lucky (not necessarily in equal proportion), I’ll get a fairly good shot that pleases me, like the one of the palm warbler topping this post.
My little buddies, the common yellowthroats, are lower-altitude birds. I typically spot them at eye level, give or take a few feet, in the bushes or out in the grassy meadows.
As I typically find it with birds that come and go from season to season, I’ll hear them for a day or two before I spot them. That’s the case again this spring with the yellowthroats, ovenbirds and Eastern towhees that have come back the past several days. I’m due to hear a wood thrush any day.
Spring is a great time to see old friends like the first-of-the-year catbird I saw this morning, and to anticipate new friends in species I’ve yet to spot. Y’all pay attention, Kentucky warblers and Louisiana waterthrushes!