Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Yellow-rumped Warblers Have Returned

Song Sparrow All Fluffed up in the Cold
Yesterday on the coldest morning since April of this year, we traveled down to Sachuest national Wildlife Refuge.  When we arrived, the sun was shining and there was only a few clouds in the sky and there was hardly any wind, which was great, so there was not a lot of windchill.  Walking along the Ocean Loop, there was a number of song sparrows moving around and when we looked out at the ocean, one of the rocks was loaded with cormorants.  In the fields way up at the tree line, there were a few doe white-tailed deer present.
Double-crested Cormorants
As we walked the loop, we encountered a large number of yellow-rumped warblers.  Yellow-rumped warblers are the most common winter warblers and many overwinter in New England.  The reason that they can do this is that they are able to eat berries such as poison ivy, juniper, bayberry and wax myrtle to name a few.  They are easily recognized by viewing its yellow rump patch as it flies away from you and its check call.  In the winter its colors are subdued.
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Winter Plumage
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Winter Plumage
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Winter Plumage
In spring migration.  The colors show a bright yellow charcoal gray and black and bold white markings.
Yellow-rumped Warbler in Breeding Plumage
As we were walking along a path, I felt something was looking at me, and when I turn to my left and the bushes, a deer was staring at me.  It was holding very still.  In fact, Jenna asked is it fake.  Then it wiggled its ears and she knew it was real.  Further behind this deer, there were two more deer present.
White-tailed Deer, Peering through the Bushes
White-tailed Deer, Peering through the Bushes
What surprised us was the lack of seabirds in the waters around this refuge.  We only saw one pair of eiders.  Only other birds on the water were gulls and cormorants.

While we are at the viewing platform at the Island Rocks, a mink showed up and though it was at a longer distance than I would have liked.  We were able to get some photographs of the mink coming out of the water and shaking off the water.
American Mink
American Mink