Published: 10/5/2021 6:14:04 PM
The Thinking Chair has confirmed to be extraordinarily productive this 12 months. In the previous couple weeks I’ve seen some fantastic birds, together with a Swainson’s thrush, which was a life hen for me. I’ll have provide you with the thought anyway, however I can’t assist however give some of the credit score for even the thought of a Thinking Chair to my favourite naturalist of all time — John Burroughs.
In one of his most well-known essays, known as “A Sharp Lookout,” Burroughs offers this sage knowledge to his readers: “On has only to sit down in the woods or the fields, or the shore of the river or the lake, and nearly everything of interest will come round to him, — the birds, mammals and insects; and presently, after his eye has got accustomed to the place, and the light and the shade, he will probably find some plant or flower that he has sought in vain, and that is a pleasant surprise to him.”
The quote is introduced in a kind of writing that we don’t hear a lot anymore and the paragraph that this sentence belongs to runs on for one more two pages, however you get the final thought. All you need to do is go to the identical place day after day and you’ll, “see the procession pass.” One of the necessary strains in this essay is just, “stay home.” As lengthy as you’re being attentive to the world (i.e., retaining a pointy lookout) you’ll finally see virtually every thing.
So, weekend after weekend, 12 months after 12 months I’m going right down to my Thinking Chair with my digicam and slightly bag of birdseed. I get settled, attempt for as a lot consolation because the day’s situations will permit, after which I give up myself to my environment. The birdseed attracts chickadees and in addition to being completely lovable little “friends” that may land on my head, in addition they present the extraordinarily necessary service of placing different birds comfortable. If the chickadees are swarming throughout me and even touchdown on me, then I actually can’t be that unhealthy, proper?
So it was no shock to me that a big household of five-six chickadees attracted the eye of some migrants final week. There have been red-eyed vireos, willow flycatchers, grey catbirds, brown thrashers, japanese towhees and a few of the extra “regular” species of the meadow. But at one level I noticed a small flash of yellow that was definitely one thing new and fascinating. Up got here the massive lens, out got here a muttered curse as I attempted to zero in on the hen and as soon as the main focus was lastly clear I knew I had hit the jackpot as soon as once more. That little flash of yellow was a Canada warbler.
This was not a life hen for me, nevertheless it was the primary time that I’ve ever managed to get pictures of this species … and the hen was attractive. Definitely a feminine, however of an age that I’m nonetheless battling a bit, this hen exhibits the primary subject marks of the species in beneficiant element. A vibrant yellow chin, throat and stomach is adorned with a “necklace” of black stripes on the throat. A whole white eye-ring enhances the massive eye after which there are these yellow legs. A male would have the identical patterns of markings, however in bolder colours. The necklace can be darker and extra dramatic, there can be darkish black feathers on the face and brow and the male’s again can be a vibrant slate blue.
As its title suggests, the Canada warbler (Cardellina canadensis) does migrate to Canada to breed. However, the vary map for this species means that it may be discovered in all six New England states, New York, northern Pennsylvania and a skinny finger of land stretching down alongside the Appalachian Mountains. This means that Canada warblers like the types of habitat that one might discover up in Canada, or additional south at greater elevations. One nesting choice mentions “sphagnum moss hummocks” and also you undoubtedly need to be up in the mountains to search out such issues. Here in Massachusetts the hen is taken into account “common” for about two weeks in May. From then till mid September they’re solely described as “occasional.”
The Canada warbler is a real long-distance migrant. From its northern breeding grounds, which prolong nicely up into japanese Canada, the birds will head south and never cease till they attain Columbia, Venezuela and Brazil. Because of this they don’t dawdle, and I really feel fortunate that I managed to see one and take its picture. By the time this column is printed the birds can be lengthy gone, however I didn’t need to have to attend till subsequent 12 months to share my discovery with you.
I additionally need to encourage you to exit into your personal yard and discover a snug seat. Or, maybe you’ve a favourite tree in an area pure space that you simply like to take a seat beneath. Forest edges are significantly good locations to search for birds, so maybe there’s a park or perhaps a cemetery the place you possibly can sit quietly and scan your environment for one thing fascinating. More birds are on their method and everybody has an opportunity to see them in case you simply go exterior and provides it a attempt.
Bill Danielson has been an expert author and nature photographer for twenty-four years. He has labored for the National Park Service, the US Forest Service, the Nature Conservancy and the Massachusetts State Parks and he at the moment teaches highschool biology and physics. For extra in formation go to his web site at www.speakingofnature.com, or head over to Speaking of Nature on Facebook.