Compiled by Sarah Toner
It’s now June. Across much of North America, the last of the migratory birds have trickled through, and birders can finally step back and relax. Unfortunately, school gets out for most young birders just when migration has waned and the birding has slowed. I’ve been trying to petition my school district for a mid-spring “Warbler Break,” with no luck. I intend to keep trying, though; “Warbler Break” is nondenominational and perfectly timed between midwinter break (a.k.a. “Way-too-early Useless Spring Break”) and the end of school. It should be a win-win!
Despite the doldrums, birding isn’t all dreary during June. Locals have settled in and begun breeding, and there are still a few late migrants around. A few rarities are bound to turn up, and fledglings are flapping everywhere.
State Game Lands #205 in Lehigh County has excellent grassland habitat and is home to numerous kestrels that require this open environment. In order to keep track of breeding success of this important grassland bird, the game commission bands chicks every year. While not all the chicks on the property could be banded today, we did find a bunch.
In Rhode Island, John Shamgochian discovers June breeding birds up close and personal on the beach:
I spotted a Killdeer perched on the bank of a stream that flowed from the bay into the marsh with the incoming tide. I tried to snap of a few photos of it but my shutter-pressing finger was outpaced by the bird's wings which eased it into the air. We continued down the beach scanning the water of the Narragansett waiting for a Common Tern to whiz by. Our scanning of the waves was quite rudely interrupted by screams only feet from our feet.
In the pine forests of northern Michigan, Neil Gilbert handles, and gets manhandled by nature in a long, backroads adventure. Birding isn’t just about birds:
As the photo above indicates, I have recently spent time within the range of the rare Kirtland's Warbler. So rare is this creature that birders from all recesses of the globe make the pilgrimage to see this gray and yellow spirit of the Jack Pines, and since my girlfriend Alison gets paid to show people the Kirtland's, I too have made the pilgrimage, mostly to see her but also to see the warbler. In addition to seeing many a Kirtland's and several different subspecies of birder (Homo sapiens aviaphilosis), Alison and I explored and wandered and roamed and rambled and otherwise adventured, trying to find as many forms of life northern Michigan could offer up last weekend.
At Flight of the Scrub Jay, Alex Burdo’s double nemesis hunt is on:
Upon arrival, I kept thinking I was hearing a Black-billed Cuckoo calling long off in the distance, but was never sure if it was just a trick of the mind or the actual bird. We kept going, acting on a tip from Ken Elkins, who had also mentioned Black-billed Cuckoos are very responsive to Barred Owl calls. So we gave a few hoots, intermixed with some Black-billed vocalizations as we moved around the area.
Sam Brunson, writing as one of the Two Birders and Binoculars, gives an informative tutorial on drawing and coloring a Northern Cardinal:
After you have gathered your materials, it’s time to get started! I usually tape down my paper onto a flat surface so that it won’t move while I’m drawing. First, draw two horizontal lines across your paper a few inches apart. These will help you draw the basic body of the bird. For this tutorial, we are going to draw the Cardinal on a branch.
Outside of the ABA Area, Cain Scrimgeour of Holywell Birding has amazing pictures of nesting seabirds on Inner Farne Island, offshore of the United Kingdom near Berwick-upon-Tweed. The pictures speak for themselves:
Spent yesterday afternoon on Inner Farne with Gary, Phil and Andrew, we'd planned for the full day but due to the wind didn't' get on until 13:00. Here’re a few images from the visit.
Where are all you young birders visiting and blogging during June? What birds do you target during the summer doldrums? Let us know in the comments!