Two Colorful Days in May

I’m finally getting around to writing about these wonderful days I had watching migrants pass through my yard in West Chester, Chester Co., PA. on May 16-17, 2017.  After 4-5 days of steady cool temperatures and NW winds, a change to clear skies, mild temperatures and winds shifting to SW overnight seemed to open the flyway. Good numbers of long-distance neotropic wintering/boreal nesting songbirds were reported in numbers both locally and regionally (Delaware Valley). I was very fortunate to witness some of the results of this flight from my back patio. As with most large inland flights of songbirds, the first few hours of daylight were very exciting and chaotic and then the movement of birds began to slow and finally dissipate in the early afternoon. I was lucky to have many photographic opportunities when some of the birds came into drink and bathe. Here are a few of the birds that stopped by.

*Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 58413161 copy
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
*Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 126858381 copy
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
*Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) 126859021 copy
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)

Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle) is a common spring migrant through my area and usually makes up the bulk of a flight. Birds in various stages of pre-alternate molt were seen throughout the two days.

*Wood Thrush copy
Wood Thrush

Wood Thrush passes through my yard in both Spring and Fall but I seem to notice it more in Spring probably because of it’s beautiful song which it begins to sing soon after daybreak.


Black-and -white Warbler is a fairly common migrant through my yard and a few were seen over the two days.

*American Redstart 58412501 copy
American Redstart (male)


American Redstart is a common migrant through my area and at least one was in view most of both days.

*Palm Warbler 131744051 copy
Palm Warbler
*Palm Warbler copy
Palm Warbler

Palm Warbler is an occasional migrant through the yard. At least two individuals were seen over the two days.

*Northern Parula 58412621 copy
Northern Parula

Northern Parula is a regular migrant through the yard. This was the only one that I came across during the two days.

*Canada Warbler 58413581 copy
Canada Warbler

Canada Warbler is a regular Spring migrant in our yard. This bird was the only one I saw during the two days and that was only a quick visit to the stream.

*Black-throated Green Warbler 58413541 copy
Black-throated Green Warbler
*Black-throated Green Warbler 58413531 copy
Black-throated Green Warbler

Black-throated Green Warbler is a common migrant in the yard. There were at least four present.

*Black-throated Blue Warbler 93565581 copy
Black-throated Blue Warbler (male)
*Black-throated Blue Warbler 93565471 copy
Black-throated Blue Warbler (male)
*Black-throated Blue Warbler 93565401 copy
Black-throated Blue Warbler (female)

Black-throated Blue Warbler is also a common migrant.

*Magnolia Warbler 131279351 copy
Magnolia Warbler

Magnolia Warbler is a fairly common migrant more so in Fall than Spring, but there were at least three individuals present.

*Cape May Warbler 58414531 copy
Cape May Warbler
*Cape May Warbler 58414521 copy
Cape May Warbler
*Cape May Warbler 58464451 copy
Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler is an occasional visitor to the yard at best and usually the sightings are of birds high up in one of the pines. I was very lucky to have one come down to the stream

*Bay-breasted Warbler 58412821 copy
Bay-breasted Warbler
*Bay-breasted Warbler 58412801 copy
Bay-breasted Warbler

Bay-breasted Warbler is an occasional visitor to the yard and rarely do I get a bird in breeding plumage. This bird spent several morning hours in the yard much to my delight.

*Blackburnian Warbler 58412921 copy
Blackburnian Warbler
*Blackburnian Warbler 58412911 copy
Blackburnian Warbler
*Blackburnian Warbler 58412901 copy
Blackburnian Warbler

Blackburnian Warbler is an infrequent yard visitor. At least one Blackburnian was present on both days.

*Indigo Bunting 58414101 copy
Indigo Bunting

I get perhaps 1-2 Indigo Buntings a year through my yard and usually in Fall. It was a real pleasure to have this adult male spend some time at the feeders.

Common Yellowthroat

Common Yellowthroats occasionally pass through the yard each Spring.

White-crowned Sparrow

White-crowned Sparrows are more frequent in the yard in Fall than Spring but this bird was one of two seen together.

*Blackpoll Warbler 58413081 copy
Blackpoll Warbler (male)
*Blackpoll Warbler 128101481 copy
Blackpoll Warbler (female)

Blackpoll Warblers are fairly common migrants through the yard.

*Rose-breasted Grosbeak 58463861 copy
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)
*Rose-breasted Grosbeak 58414001 copy
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)
*Rose-breasted Grosbeak 58413981 copy
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (male)
*Rose-breasted Grosbeak 58414061 copy
Rose-breasted Grosbeak (female)

Rose-breasted Grosbeaks are fairly common and always welcome as they pass through on migration. There was a max of four in view at once during these two days.

*Barn Swallow 92894651 copy
Barn Swallow

Barn and Tree Swallows as well as Chimney Swifts were on the move also. The Barn Swallow flight lasted through most of the afternoons.

In addition to migrant species coming through there was also a noticeable uptick in the summer residents.

*Gray Catbird 58463341 copy
Gray Catbird
Ruby-throated Hummingbird
*Scarlet Tanager 58413851 copy
Scarlet Tanager
*Scarlet Tanager 58413911 copy
Scarlet Tanager

Always a fan favorite, Scarlet Tanagers were taking full advantage of the water feature.

*Eastern Bluebird 58225711 copy
Eastern Bluebird

Eastern Bluebird which was nesting in my neighbor’s yard would occasionally stop by for a drink.

*Baltimore Oriole copy
Baltimore Oriole
*Baltimore Oriole 58414191 copy
Baltimore Oriole
*Baltimore Oriole 58079111 copy 2
Baltimore Oriole

Baltimore Oriole are fairly common in my neighborhood in Spring and there were at least three in view together.

Not to be left out of the gathering Northern Cardinals, Common Grackles and Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers mingled with the tourists.

*Northern Cardinal 125956751 copy
Northern Cardinal
White-throated Sparrow

A lingering White-throated Sparrow was also out-and-about.

Fifty-nine species visited the yard during this two day period and I was very lucky to be part of it.

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