Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Houghton Gardens: The Warbler Rest Stop

Female Northern Parula
Sorry for this late post, things have been busy.

At the end of last week, I stopped by Houghton Gardens and Hammond Pond. I have always though that Houghton Gardens would be a great place for warblers, so when I read a report from Marygrace that included a Prairie Warbler, I figure this was be a great time to see Houghton Garden’s Potential.

It really was a good day for warblers. Singing Blackpolls, Black-throated Greens, and Black-throated Blues, and Black-and-whites greeted me. A Northern Parula was spotted working a spider web. I couldn't decide if she was looking for bugs caught in the web,
American Bullfrog
or if she was gathering it for nesting material, though the later seems unlikely. If you look closely in the picture you should be able to see the spider webs. High in the canopy I eventually tracked down two songsters to reveal Magnolia and Chestnut-sided Warblers. I thought I might hear a Blackburnian song, but had trouble tracking it down. If an American Redstart wasn't nearby, I would have been more confident of a heard only identification. Though while searching for the singer I startled an Ovenbird. Through in a Pine Warbler, a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and a Yellow Warbler and you get quite  a good density of warblers in the tiny Houghton Gardens.

Common Yellowthroat
The diversity of plants and dense brush must make Houghton an ideal road-side rest stop on their northward migration. Just across the tracks into Webster Woods behind Hammond Pond and the spacing between trees is great, the understory is more open, and a veritable desert to the warblers. They all seem to have decided that Houghton Gardens was the place to be. Though I was able to add Cedar Waxwing, Common Yellowthroat, and a Wilson's Warbler to the morning, just so that Hammond Pond could redeem itself.