Eliot and I went birding this morning at the Sherburne National Wildlife Refuge. Because it’s early May, we were pretty much expecting birds to be everywhere. And we did see birds, and some very fine ones at that. But they were not dripping from the trees nor rafting in the waters (as at least I had hoped).

I start a new bird list each year. It’s a fun way to notice things and pay attention. On our bird outing this morning, I added eight new birds to my 2014 bird list. Coincidentally (I think), most of them start with B:

  • American Pipit
  • Barn Swallow
  • Black-Crowned Night-Heron
  • Brewer’s Blackbird
  • Brown-Headed Cowbird
  • Brown Thrasher
  • Green-Winged Teal
  • Lark Sparrow

black crowned night heronSo overall it was a B kind of birding day, and the Black-Crowned Night-Heron was the highlight. I’ve not seen one in years, and it just sat there forever as we watched it. And just as we were leaving it turned, showing its profile. Magnificent.

Since I started birding I have had a thing for sparrows. Sparrows are among those “little brown birds” that are all clumped together, but as with so many other things, when you go a little deeper you find some wonderful diversity. One of my favorites and an early spring arrival (and occasional over-winterer) is the White-Throated Sparrow. I frequentlywhite_throated_sparrow_2 get them in my backyard, and they always make me smile. And sometimes I hear them sing—most especially in the morning. I know that spring is really here when I hear the White-Throated Sparrow sing.

Today we saw Lark Sparrows: They have beautiful markings on their faces. I don’t see Lark Sparrows every year, so they were quite fun to spot. And the pipit! I have only seen a few American Pipits in my life, so that was a big highlight. Though I think the Black-Crowned Night-Heron carried the day.

I love spring. All is renewed. And so much more to come!

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