Daylight Saving Time has arrived and the Spring Equinox will bring the official beginning to spring on Monday at 5:24 pm. Despite these changes, spring doesn’t feel like it’s imminent, especially with the current weather report.
The bird migration is underway, too, yet it’s been a slow start this year. Birdcast is only showing around 2,000 to 3,000 nocturnal overnight visitors.
I’ve been out many times over the last two weeks and have seen little evidence of the migration. I expected to see Red-winged Blackbirds but the ponds were frozen and air silent of their distinctive birdsong. I braved muddy, washboarded roads driving to the Anderson Creek marsh where I knew there would be open water and, hopefully, RWBBs.
While the waters at the marsh were wide open, I didn’t seen any RWBBs. In fact, I didn’t see a single bird or duck. Not even a mallard.
On another day, I saw this pair of Trumpeter Swans feasting on corn field dregs. But I was pretty sure they were on a stopover while migrating back to Alaska and other points Northwest.
I’d gotten an Audubon e-bird alert that there’d been sightings of Common Grackles, so I headed over to a deep copse of evergreens where I’d seen them last year.
While grackles aren’t my favorite birds because they tend to be nuisance birds at the feeders, it was good to see a true migrant returning home.
My last two times out my luck began to turn. Last Saturday, I saw this lone Sandhill Crane in the same field where I always see my favorite pair. Was this one of them? It was standing in the snow and pretty far away so I moved on.
The last migrant I saw was this Red-shouldered Hawk. I hadn’t photographed one before so it was a real treat.
At first I thought it was a Cooper’s Hawk, but Merlin identified it correctly as a Red-shouldered, making it #71 on my Birding Life List.