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Book of Days


Filtering by Tag: warblers

May 16 - 18: Back on Monhegan

Kristen Lindquist

Spent the past three days on Monhegan Island, about 15 miles off the coast of Maine in Muscongus Bay. While this incredibly scenic place is an artist colony and a popular tourist destination, this time of year it's all about the birds. Monhegan lies in the Atlantic flyway and is a notorious migrant trap; many species rarely seen anywhere else in Maine show up there during the spring and fall flights.
It's still early spring out there, with leaves just budding and only the earliest of flowers blooming. Intermittent thick fog added to the chill. But the birds, the birds were on the move, impelled north by forces they don't understand, adding color, and joy, to the spare island landscape.
Manana Goats
Back on the island
goats loosed for summer--
their joy is mine.
Burnt Head in Fog
Shifting island fog
reveals in surf below
errant buoys, eiders.

Hooded Warbler
Early morning calm--
hers is the only motion,
yellow of first light.
A bounty of orange
appearing, disappearing--
hungry for more.

May 27: Dead bird

Kristen Lindquist

Some migrating birds get this far in their journey and still don't make it. Today a dead kingbird was found on a beach. We could tell by its prominent breastbone, sharp through its soft feathers, that the bird had completely depleted its fat stores. It had flown thousands of miles from South America this spring, only to starve in the fog on a small Maine island.

The kingbird wasn't the only dead bird found. But the other casualties, a Canada Warbler and two yellowthroats found in the middle of a trail, were victims of cats--a fate somehow even more tragic than simple depletion and exhaustion.

Dead kingbird in hand--
sad discovery of sharp bones,
hidden red crown.

May 11: Wave

Kristen Lindquist

After the rain stopped late this morning, dozens of migrating birds moved through the trees in our back yard. I stood on the violet-dappled lawn and watched them for almost two hours as they flitted and fed in the new leaves above the river. Yellow-rumped Warblers were the most numerous and least shy, often flying very near me and posing very visibly. The chorus of the songs of all those birds rose to a cacophony at the peak of the wave. I let the sound wash over me as I followed each movement in the trees with my binoculars.

Heard again after a year--
Magnolia Warbler's sweet song
rises from the chorus.