Spring is definitely here in all her splendor. From yellow green new growth on emerging leaf out of trees, to shrubs, wildflowers and grasses, yellow was definitely making her appearance in our area. Such would be the case on today’s birding adventure back to our local River Park North in Greenville, North Carolina. Especially with the Yellow-Rumps and Yellow-Throats!
There were four in our group this spring morning, my friend and a lovely young couple from another neighboring county. The sky was blue, the winds were light, and the temps were on the cool side…a perfect morning for birding.
Birding early in the morning is always good. The sun brings out all kinds of birds in search of breakfast as well as other species of animals, too. We decided to take our usual peninsula to the right just off the beginning of the trail.
But, we were not to be alone in there. Sometimes other people talking spooks a few birds away. Heading into our first viewing area, we noticed the the strangest thing though. A man had taken about five artificial roses, each with a different woman’s name on them and placed them in the ground in different inconspicuous spots. (NOTHING is inconspicuous to a BIRDER! We spotted the roses IMMEDIATELY!) He gave a gal a rose he seemed to be meeting there and off they went to a beach towel in a secluded area near the edge of the pond. (NOTE: No “foul” play was noticed, just a guy being a “player” apparently.)
Right off the bat a male Yellow-Rumped Warbler belted out its tune. Warblers seem to always require you to lay your head back and look up high in a tree at them and this one was no different. Glad it decided to pose for a minute instead of flit about for an hour.
A Few Tidbits about the Yellow-Rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata)
- Size: 5.5 inches tall, wingspan 8.5 inches
- Voice: weeta weeta weetsee (Last word rising) or a weeta weeta wit-chew
- Food: insects, berries
- Habitat: Likes coniferous, mixed forests
- Nesting Materials: Shredded bark, weed stalks, twigs, roots
- Nests: 4 – 50 feet above ground in a conifer
- 2 broods per year
- Migratory, winters here in this area of North Carolina
- Migrates north to Canada in summer
Call the Chiropractor – Four Cases of Adult “Warbler Neck”
As exciting as it was observing the Yellow-Rumped, the Yellow-Throated Warbler was not going to be out done. The most beautiful song was coming from high atop THAT tree…no, THAT tree…No, it’s THIS tree. Due to the height of the tall pine trees it was in, it took four people with binocs and a camera 45 minutes to locate this bird…seriously!
All the while, the cassanova and his gal on the beach towel were getting a little antsy. They were looking at us like what on earth could we be doing? Were we spying on them? Were we weirdos? Four people standing with their heads laid back staring up straight up in the air for 45 minutes? Well, when we finally located the bird, we had to watch it another 30 minutes…Oh well. The weight of holding binocs on our faces and me with my 2.5 lb Nikon with zoom lens resting on my face made us look a bit like the crooked necks of herons. We DID manage to somehow slowly work the stiffness out until we could stand like humans once again!
Then, after reviving our necks, ANOTHER warbler appeared…the Yellow-Throated Warbler!
What’s the Scoop on the Yellow-Throated Warbler (Dendroica dominica)
- Size: 5.5 inches tall, wingspan 8.5
- Voice: tweede-tweed-tweede-tweede-dee-da-m-deet
- Food: uses beak to extract insects, also catches them in flight, caterpillars, and spiders
- Habitat: Tall swampy bottomland hardwoods, pine woods near water, sycamores in riparian corridors, swamps with cypress and tupelos.
- Migratory: breeds in summer here in North Carolina
- Nesting Materials: plant down, stems, grasses, cocoon material; tucks Spanish Moss on or near end of branch
- Nests located 10 – 100 feet above ground
- 1-2 broods per year
More Flora and Fauna on the Trail
If you just stand still and look around, with your eyes or binoculars, it’s amazing just how much of an ecosystem was going on in just this one spot. Again, the beach towel couple must have thought we four were nutjobs indeed. But, we didn’t want to miss anything nature wise with the flora and fauna going on if we could help it. The clock was ticking.
Near where we saw the Warblers and the snake, was a small shallow water area from the pond in the shade of high and sub-canopy trees. There were a few birds taking an early morning bath in it. Several different types of aquatic vegetation was growing in the shallow water.
Getting back onto the main trail, we were struck with this young tree we noticed that was in bloom. The yellow bottle brush flowers of the Black Willow were lit up by the sun streaking through them.
Black Willow Tree (Salix nigra Marsh.)
- Common along streams in all but the high mountains in North Carolina
- Shallow, wide spreading roots that needs a constant and good supply of water
- Largest of our native willows
- Trunks sometimes twist, curve or lean
- Learn more info about the Black Willow
I would have to say, once we got over our case of “warbler neck,” we further enjoyed the walk down a side trail in which we noticed a large papery Hornet’s Nest set back into the trees among the various foliage. Also we steered clear of the large Fire Ant hill about two feet tall that captured our attention on this particular trail.
We surely enjoyed the opportunity to see Yellow-Rumped Warbler and the Yellow-Throated Warbler busy in their habitat and to hear their beautiful songs…hmmm…now that makes TWO of the HOW many Warblers I need to learn to identify?…until next time….