On Sunday, May 6, a group of 27 birders assembled at Middle Run Natural Area in Newark, for a special bird walk on Day 2 of the Delaware Bird-A-Thon. Eager to see Spring Migration in full swing, it did not take long to get into the birds! Making it very far on the trail was difficult, as we kept being distracted by the great birds flying by. Baltimore Orioles flew over, as did a pair of Great Blue Herons, Northern Flickers, and a surprising group of four Common Loons! And to add to the delight, the rolling hoots of a Barred Owl livened up the soundscape.
At Trail Marker 3, a female Tree Swallow perched with a piece of grass clutched in her beak. She busied herself with adding this to her nest in the birdhouse nearby, while we busied ourselves with enjoying scope views of handsome Cedar Waxwings. Soon an Indigo Bunting showed off its colors, and a male Orchard Oriole sang from directly over our heads. A very orange male Box Turtle stepped across our path, showing us that reptiles can be just as colorful as birds.
Then the real color show began: several male Prairie Warbler darted around from the top of one bush to another, flashing their streaky yellow colors. Then the loud whock-whock song of the Yellow-breasted Chat led us to looks at this stunning and large warbler. Not to be outdone, a couple of male Blue-winged Warblers bee-buzzzed to get our attention. White-eyed Vireos, Field Sparrows, and Eastern Bluebirds in this same meadow hardly earned a second glace while competing with the colorful warblers.
We entered the forest and soon came uupon a very vocal male Ovenbird that sat “glued” to the same branch for more than 10 minutes. After long looks at this warbler of the woodland floor, we made our way over to the creek where we had an immediate look at a Louisiana Waterthrush. Soon our attention was drawn to a beautiful nest high in a Beech tree: a female Wood Thrush was busy building this nest, and we watched her add leaves as she worked on this construction project.
On the way out of the thickets, right at Trail Marker 15, we came across a wonderful flock of migrants that included an American Redstart, Black-throated Blue Warbler, and a Northern Parula.
After a fun tour of the Middle Run Birding Trail, we’d tallied 56 species of birds and sampled a fine variety of Spring Migration. Severeal of our Delaware Dunlins youth birders counted these birds towards the Delaware Bird-A-Thon fundraiser. Thank you to all who took part!
Story and photos by Derek Stoner, Delaware Dunlins Program Coordinator