Friday, May 22, 2009

Fly-catching warblers

On Wednesday May 20 I walked the Maxwell Lake portion of the boardwalk just after lunch. The 25 cm of snow we received on Monday was still melting, and a lot of birds were taking advantage of the bare areas around the lake. The highlight was dozens of yellow-rumped warblers (maybe as many as 150 in all) along the lakeshore all around the lake. The warblers were fly-catching and gleaning for adult chironomids.

I watched warblers fly under the decking on the boardwalk to pick off chironomids clinging to the stringers. The birds were very tame and allowed me to approach within a few meters. Later that day I found a dead male yellow-rumped warbler that didn't survive the storm. Perhaps that's why the birds were so tame - they were likely desperate to find food and the chironomid hatch must have seemed like a feast to them after days of snow and cold.

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