Skip to content

My Life’s Birds: #179-181

December 24, 2008

April 24, 1994 – Christian Co, Mo – I freely admit that at some points in this Life’s Birds exercise I’ve had trouble remembering the exact situations surrounding the birds I’ve seen. These experiences were, in many cases, nearly 15 years ago. A full half of my life. So some of the stories surrounding their discovery are a bit murky and may even fall victim to the minor embellishment that every storyteller holds as his right and even obligation. Some days, however, are still as crystal clear as the day they happened.

The morning of the 24th I looked out our back window at the feeding station that we had just off the deck (this was in addition to the feeding station we had in the front, obviously). Underneath the hanging feeder, where usually there were sparrows and doves, was a little yellow bird, wagging it’s tail as it foraged in the shade of the two paper mulberry trees. I had been preparing for warblers by cramming the field guides, but this one threw me, as it wasn’t as flashy as some of the others I’d hoped to see. But it was a new bird anyway, a turn through the field guide led me to Palm Warbler. A good start.

We lived on a river and when the weather turned, we’d go canoeing often. On a beautiful spring day, as this one was turning out to be, my dad and I would often put the boat in the water and take it upriver, to where we would have access to some extensive tracts of habitat that are hard to access by foot. It was birding by boat essentially.

The riverside was usually productive too, and on this day the way we could slide quietly up along the bank provided good looks at a Northern Waterthrush, but that wasn’t the best bird of the day. Hearing a strange song we pulled ashore at the base of a small bluff and scrambled to the top to get a better look at the tiny bird. I remember looking down the 30 or so feet to the canoe tied up, the precise light green shade of the leaves, and the hole in the foliage through which I spotted my life Blackpoll Warbler.

Odd then, that it wouldn’t be until I moved to North Carolina several years later till I found another one. As uncommon as they are in the western edge of their migratory route in southwest Missouri, that’s how common they are on a typical North Carolina spring morning, and I’ve found them every year since. The first time is almost always the best though.

PAWA from wikipedia
BLWA from badjoby via flickr

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: