Nothing says spring quite like getting the male Red-winged Blackbirds back. Their song, echoing from the weeds near ponds and marshes across the USA, always makes me feel like I’m home again and school has just let out for the summer – even when, like yesterday, the weather forecast calls for another overnight freeze.

Speaking of Red, the Red-tailed Hawks were, apropos of my last post, mighty frisky. As I circulated through the Ravine, past the Boathouse and around the lake, I kept looking up and finding two adult Red-tails soaring together. Toward the end of the trip, a younger Red-tail swooped in and scattered a large flock of Robins that I was scanning; when zie rose back into the sky, the two adults appeared and escorted hir out of sight.

The ducks are getting in migratory gear as well. The numbers of Shovelers and Ruddy Ducks were down (Ruddies never did achieve the numbers on the lake that I remember from years past) but Ring-necked Ducks were up, with a pair on the Upper Pool and several males on the lake. The Upper Pool also hosted a single Bufflehead, but there were no Mergansers of any kind anywhere to be found. The one female Pintail persists among the Mallards and Coots, but for how much longer? Surely she’ll be on her way soon.

Also persisting; two Pied-Billed Grebes (could this be the year that they nest in the park once more?), one Red-breasted Nuthatch, some White-throated Sparrows, and a lonely-looking Junco.

The day is not too distant when I see 2008’s first warbler, and then the first vireo, the first tanager, the first non-celebrity oriole. Spring always goes so fast. This year I want to suck all the juice out of it.

Rock Pigeon Columba livia
House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Fox Sparrow Passella iiaca
White-throated Sparrow Zonotrichia albicollis
American Robin Turdus migratorius
Northern Cardinal Cardinalis cardinalis
Tufted Titmouse Baeolophus bicolor
Carolina Wren Thryothorus ludovicianus
White-breasted Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura
American Coot Fulica atra
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
Red-bellied Woodpecker Melanerpes carolinus
Dark-eyed Junco Junco hyemalis
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile atricapillus
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
Red-breasted Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker Sphyrapicus varius
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
Mute Swan Cygnus olor
Common Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
Red-winged Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Herring Gull Larus argentatus
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
Song Sparrow Melospiza melodia
Blue Jay Cyanocitta cristata
Cedar Waxwing Bombycilla cedrorum