, Newburyport, MA

Local News

April 26, 2014

On the lookout for warblers


We have our favorite spots -- those places were the pine trees are clustered and very high. These empires of pines seem to be the most reliable and consistent spots! For us there is Moseley Pines in Newburyport, or Harold Parker State Park in Andover, and in recent years, our prime hot spot has been Chebacco Road in Hamilton. That was where we went this year.

Most of the time when we find Pine Warbler we locate them first by their musical trill and then after, an arduous search, spot one high up at the top of the canopy. Sometimes we can get them perching still as they sing, but more often than not, they hop from branch to branch, from one hiding place to another. It can be a combination of delight at seeing one, and frustration at having such short and fleeting looks.

It is after all, quite a beautiful bird.

This year, however we were lucky. It is not the first time we have been fortunate, but we have never seen one better than last Monday. The bird dropped down low, down to the bare skeletal branches just above eye level in the pine. There we feasted on the bright yellow of the breast; brighter than the field guides would have you expect. There was the pristine white of the undersides and clean olive of the back. And the streaking on this bird was unusually crisp. This male was fresh and new and ready for the adventure ahead.

So it has started. Through the long wait, through the cold and frost spring has begun. The skunk cabbage if pushing up in the swamps, the forsythia is blooming and the warblers are just arriving. Now this is something to fill the heart with joy.”

Steve Grinley is the owner of Bird Watcher’s Supply and Gift at the Route 1 traffic circle in Newburyport.

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