Date of this Version
“Spring Field Report, March–May 2008” from Nebraska Bird Review (June 2008) 76(2).
Despite this cool, wet spring, warbler enthusiasts were thrilled by one of the best showings in years, with Chestnut-sided, Magnolia, Black-throated Green, Blackburnian, and Mourning Warblers leading the charge. Swallows also as a group arrived early, including a record early Barn Swallow, and record early Western Tanagers (yes, more than one) appeared, surprisingly, in the east. There were no reports of mortality due to cold or excessive moisture; apparently food sources were unaffected. The large incursion of Purple Finches and the smaller one of Mountain Chickadees continued into the spring period, with impressive totals.
Identification of Catharus thrushes is more difficult in the field than field guides might indicate because of the tendency of birds to stay in areas where lighting is inconsistent and often subpar for viewing. Thus reports without details earlier than late April are difficult to evaluate; also adding to the problems this spring was a higher than usual number of Hermit Thrushes.
Some exciting rarities were reported; most exciting was Nebraska's first Grace's Warbler, a bird well-documented with photos. Others were two Black-throated Gray Warblers, a Golden-crowned Sparrow, and several other species considered casual in occurrence.
Species formerly considered zooties, but now mere ordinaries, include White-winged Dove, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher, even Glossy Ibis.
All in all, a spring with something for everyone!