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Birdwalk Highlights for 5/11: Florida Lake Park and Hidden Pond Preserve, Freeport.

Maybe the birds stayed up late to watch the Northern Lights, too, because it was a kinda slow morning. Granted, a slow morning in May is still pretty darn good. While we may not have had the volume of warbler species we hoped for, we were treated to some great views of a range of species, and some interesting behaviors.

We were greeted by a drumming RUFFED GROUSE, which is always a treat to hear (and feel). Practicing some birding by ear on the walk into the lake, we picked up birds including a NAHSVILLE WARBLER and a couple of OVENBIRDS. Later, our patience was rewarded when an Ovenbird walked out from a thicket and provided stunning views, temporarily distracting us from a foraging MAGNOLIA WARBLER we were following. Two of our 5 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS on the morning were seen well, as was the single YELLOW WARBLER, several of the 5 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, both of the CHESTNUT-SIDED WARBLERS, and most of our 5 YELLOW-WUMPED WARBLERS were also seen well. We also had great looks at a couple of the 8 COMMON YELLOWTHROATS present.

SWAMP SPARROWS were particularly conspicuous this morning, with one male repeatedly singing in the open from a nearby bush. On OSPREY made a close pass, a SOLITARY SANDPIPER passed high overhead, and a BELTED KINGFISHER made a strafing run.

While the warbler diversity was just OK, the swallow show was spectacular. All five of the regularly-occurring small SWALLOWS were present: 30 TREE, 6-8 BARN, 3 BANK, and one each of CLIFF and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED.

Like last week, we saved a little time for a spin at Hidden Pond Preserve. Here, we were greeted by a VEERY in the trail. We had killer looks at one of the two male ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAKS singing (plus a glimpse of a female), but struggled to all get a good look at an uncooperative WILSON'S WARBLER. We added another 9 Common Yellowthroats, 2 Swamp Sparrows, 3 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Nashville Warbler, 1 Magnolia Warbler, and 1 Yellow Warbler to the tally. We then heard a PINE WARBLER for our 11th warbler of the morning.

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