Wow, so I know April’s migration is much more intense than that of March, but holy cow! We’re not even halfway through and I already have almost as many FOY birds as I did last month. This is definitely a post that I cannot put off any longer. Without any further ado, here are my first-of-years from the first thirteen days of April:
April 3rd– my first April day at Stricker’s Pond- sunny, warm, and beautiful.
67: Eastern Phoebe
68: Bonaparte’s Gull– a good amount of them this whole week. The water at the pond is very high this spring and I’ve twice seen them perched on the Purple Martin houses because the shoreline rocks are underwater.
69: Common Loon
70: Brown Creeper– finally saw one! I was worried they would all migrate north before I had a chance.
71: Great Egret– three of these elegant white herons foraged the shallow edges of the pond.
April 6th– a day spent by the Wisconsin River with a friend.
72: Northern Harrier
73: American White Pelican– pointed out by said friend (thanks again!)
74: Tree Swallow– so far my only one of the year.
April 10th– got some birding in at the pond before the snow came.
75: Pied-billed Grebe
76: Pine Siskin– same situation as the Brown Creeper I saw on the 3rd.
77: Yellow-rumped Warbler– It jumped into my binoculars view while I was watching the siskin.
78: Horned Grebe
79: Purple Martin– the first individual to arrive at the martin houses.
April 13th– TWO trips to Stricker’s Pond
80: Winter Wren– got a good look at it! I wasn’t timing, but I think I watched it for two or three minutes. That’s not bad for a bird whose preferred habitat is dense brush and woodpiles. They are so lovely. It was a rich brown with light speckling. They move so fast over any sort of obstacle. If they’re just hopping from one log to another, they move with such speed it looks like they’re teleporting. These are easily one of my favorite April birds. Unfortunately this long sighting was during my second, and camera-less, trip to the pond.
81: Golden-crowned Kinglet
83: Ruby-crowned Kinglet
84: Eastern Towhee
85: Hermit Thrush
86: Cooper’s Hawk– it’s about time!
87: Double-crested Cormorant
88: Brown-headed Cowbird
89: White-throated Sparrow
Today was the absolute high point of these past few weeks. Not only did I see the cute little Winter Wren, but it was a great day for Red-breasted Mergansers and Bonaparte’s Gulls, with high counts of 27 and 18, respectively. I would like to go on record and say Bonaparte’s Gulls are even cuter than Winter Wrens. As one of the smaller species, they aren’t particularly gullish, at least by our stereotypes. I’ve never seen them in a parking lot or any heavily-developed area and they are not aggressive and in-your-face. They’re more dainty, like a tern rather than a gull. Oh, and they beep. Or quack? It’s kind of a combination of the two. Think of a softer, sweeter Mallard call.
And yes, I finally saw two winter birds that I was starting to get worried about- the Brown Creeper and Pine Siskin. I just have to hope my 2019 Common Redpolls will show up in the fall because it’s too late for them now.
The Purple Martins are slowly coming back to Stricker’s Pond. I saw five on my highest count today, but I am expecting a colony of 12 or more in May.
This has been a very exciting month so far, and I predict this is going to be a good year for birds.