Birdwalk Highlights for 5/1: Knight's Pond, Cumberland.

With a large group and strong northwesterly winds, we sought out the shelter of a sunny edge of deeper woods, and ventured a little further afield to Knight's Pond.

We found a warm sheltered pond-shore edge, but it was just not very birdy this morning. However, a pair of NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS and 4 BARN SWALLOWS put on a memorable show. In fact, you will spend a lot of time birding before you ever see rough-winged swallows this well again! The two birds were darting around the dam, sometimes flying within arm's length, and right overhead. Perfect light, perfect view of field marks, and just an enjoyable show. One lone TREE SWALLOW eventually joined the festivities.

Meanwhile, we had a very low and close OSPREY (later joined by a second), that provided equally-amazing views. From the same spot, we spotted a PIED-BILLED GREBE, demonstrating its name of "water-witch" as it slunk below the surface. It was the first of the year for many in the group, and even a "life bird" for some. Meanwhile, 6 pairs of CANADA GEESE were constantly goosing each other as they sorted out the breeding territories.

Warblers, however, were very few and far between. One single female PINE WARBLER foraging low was a delight, but only 2 of the mere 14 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS were well seen, and the lone PALM WARBLER played hard to get.

We started the walk with a COMMON RAVEN flying right overhead, and finished with a migrant SHARP-SHINNED HAWK zipping by. Most folks saw all 4 of the RUBY-CROWNED KINGLETS well, while other returning migrants included just 2 EASTERN PHOEBES, 2 NORTHERN FLICKERS, and 1 WHITE-THROATED SPARROW.

Other resident species included the usual suspects including 10 BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES, 2 TUFTED TITMICE, and 2-4 RED-BREASTED NUTHATCHES. The rest of the morning's list was rounded out with things like MALLARDS and RED-WINGED BLACKBIRDS.

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