, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 26, 2014

On the lookout for warblers

Spring has finally taken hold and the southwest winds are propelling our early migrants into New England. A few hummingbirds have arrived in the state and our earliest warblers -- the palm, pine and yellow-rumped warblers -- are arriving in good numbers.

Doug Chickering of Groveland shares with us his quest for one of those warblers:

“The world outside has only the vaguest notion of what we encounter when were seek after our birds. They know that there is such a thing as sparrow, gull, hawk, jay, Robin, and others. If you speak of Sandpipers or even falcons they seem to understand, in the vaguest way, what you are referring to.

What is entirely ours, however, are the warblers. Rare is the non-birder who has ever heard of warblers. The warblers are cosa nostre -- “our thing”-- and the love of this small active passerine is pretty much universal among birders. Even the most dedicated hawk watcher on station at parking Lot 1 on Plum Island will break to take a look at that Cape May reported in the S Curves.

Now it is April and the warblers have just started to arrive in their usual orderly fashion. We have already seen a few Yellow-rumps, but this year there were only a few of those and they were in their winter drab colors. The first true migrant warblers are just coming in. Even though I haven’t heard of any Louisiana Waterthrush yet I know that the Palm Warblers are here, as are the Pines. Lois and I have yet to come across a Palm Warbler, but the spring is young.

These last few days we have been engaged in checking out those places where we find Pine Warblers. Unlike the Palm Warblers, the Pine Warbler’s name is directly associated with where they nest. Anyplace where there are pines, Pine Warblers are possible; Lois and I have seen them in multiple pine groves.

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