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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Magee Marsh: All the Rest

[Magee Marsh. May 2017]

Were this blogger to be accused of a pronounced (some might even say "obsessive"?) bias toward warblers, the accusation would be surely met with an acquiescence tantamount to sweet agreement. This is one accusation to which the only response is a joyful "guilty as charged"! 

Indeed, this bias is borne unashamed and its energy channeled into the glorious study of all North American warblerkind -- in passage, at their breeding grounds, in recognizing and learning their songs, observing their natural history and understanding their ecology. Surely, no other avian subject offers the prospect of such endless fascination and satisfaction. 

Yet, while warblers may be the stars of Spring migration; they are not exclusive in deserving photo-documentation of their passage at Magee Marsh. And, in this post, we offer a selection of the "non warblers" to excite and enthuse the reader:

  1. Blackbirds
    • Baltimore Oriole
    • Common Grackle
  2. Thrushes
    • Wood Thrush
    • Veery
    • Grey-cheeked Thrush
    • Swainson's Thrush
    • American Robin
  3. Vireos
    • Red-eyed Vireo
    • Warbling Vireo
  4. Flycatchers
    • Great Crested Flycatcher
    • Trail's Flycatcher
  5. Others
    • Cedar Waxwing
    • Blue-Grey Gnatcatcher
    • Ruby-crowned Kinglet
    • Downy Woodpecker

We start with the Icterids or New World Blackbirds:

Baltimore Oriole -- the male is a beautiful flame-orange; followed by a duller female:

Common Grackle -- cruelly considered by the insensitive as a "trash bird":

The Thrushes starting with our very own harbinger of Spring:

Grey-cheeked Thrush:

Swainson's Thrush -- note buffy spectacles:

An obstructed Veery:

And, the wonderful Wood Thrush:

Vireos -- beginning with Red-eyed:

And the drab-in-looks but spectacular-in-song, Warbling Vireo:

Flycatchers -- first, a Trail's Flycatcher:

Great Crested Flycatcher:

And all the rest: Cedar Waxwing:

Blue-grey Gnatcatcher:

A tiny woodpecker -- the Downy:

And, the Ruby-crowned Kinglet:

As birders, it is but natural to harbor preferences and develop affinities for particular species or groups of species to which no universal consensus might accrue; but as naturalists, we come to the clear realization that what _is_ incontestable, however, is that in the splendid cornucopia of avian life, there is an equal role to all species in maintaining a marvelous and harmonious ecological balance in Nature. 

And, while warblers may indeed offer color, song, and splendor in migration, the contemplative birder will no less be enthused by our many thrushes, flycatchers, vireos and others that bring such wonder and amazement in their own right.

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