Birdwalk Highlights for 5/21: Florida Lake Park, Freeport.

Well, that was fun. Again.

After a relatively slow start, focusing mostly on birding-by-ear, we ended with a bang! In fact, we ended with a goodly 17 species of warblers, with warbler #17 being a group of at least 5 BAY-BREASTED WARBLERS!

Locally-breeding COMMON YELLOWTHROATS led the way (16+), and it was a little while until we added passage migrants to the numbers of locally-territorial breeders. Overall, numbers were on the low side, but diversity was excellent. The rest of our warbler tallies were as follows: 9 AMERICAN REDSTARTS, 5 OVENBIRDS, 5 MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, 4 YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLERS, 4 NASHVILLE WARBLERS, 3 CANADA WARBLERS, 3 YELLOW WARBLERS, 3 BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS, 3 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, 2 PINE WARBLERS, 1 NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH, 1 BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER, and surprisingly only one BLACKPOLL WARBLER.

Quite a few of these were heard-only, but the looks at all the Bay-breasteds at the end more than made up for it! Additionally, our 16th species of warbler on the day was a special one: a nest-building NORTHERN PARULA. Far from rare in the area, it was a rare treat to get to see the pendulant nest made entirely from Old Man's Beard Lichen being constructed.

While we didn't see the BALTIMORE ORIOLE working on his nest today, we saw at least 5 orioles, including the pair chasing an interloper from the tree near the nest. The splash of color was welcome on a dreary, gray day.

Less well seen, but heard well by all, was our first YELLOW-BELLIED FLYCATCHER of the year, in the direction of where another birder had found one earlier and pointed us towards. GREAT-CRESTED FLYCATCHERS were vocal today, but ALDER FLYCATCHERS (3+) did a better job of showing themselves.

At least 5 BOBOLINKS were migrating overhead, and among the TREE and BARN SWALLOWS we briefly teased out a single BANK SWALLOW.

The parula nest was the grand finale. Until the flock of Bay-breasted Warblers. That was the grand finale until the brilliant male SCARLET TANAGER showed up and stuck around for prolonged views. And then there was the great look at a singing male TENNESSEE WARBLER (our 18th species of warbler on the morning) that greeted us upon our return to the store.

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