Thursday, April 07, 2011

First of the Year

It's always a great afternoon when I come home to find this bird in my mailbox:

The logo is a slicked up version of the header to The Chat, the newsletter from the Columbia Audubon Society, one of the oldest chapters in Missouri. I love the illustration of the yellow-breasted chat, the secretive but noisy and bright yellow bird that represents the shrubby oak layer at my favorite tract of Ozark woods. Love chats, and just love the simple line drawing.

But aside from my affinity for the logo, I always look forward to opening the four-to-six page newsletter to find two full pages of fieldtrips hosted by different members of the chapter. This month was no different--Columbia Audubon Society will be birding at Prairie Home, at their own properties around Columbia, in Columbia parks and throughout the general area. This group of enthusiastic birders remains a bright spot in the Columbia conservation community. As much as I love the chat, I adore the CAS chapter. I've never met more earnest folks.

This month's newsletter was particularly interesting with a great article by one of Missouri's best birders and CAS board member, Edge Wade. Having birded in the Gulf Coastal Plain longer than I have in Missouri, I needed a guide to the waves of warblers. In the Gulf Coast, hit the barrier islands in March or early April to see every darned wood warbler around, as they land exhausted on loquat shrubs or gnarled hawthorns. But the waves of migrants in Missouri are on a different schedule.

Edge offers a short list of which warblers to study in early April through mid-May. The first bunch of warblers to come through Missouri includes:

Northern parula, Yellow throated warbler, pine warbler, palm warbler, cerulean warbler, black and white warbler, prothonotary warbler, and Louisiana waterthrush,

I picked up my FOY parula in early March, actually, way down in the Gulf states where the Tradescantia was already in bloom. But today, I set out into central Ozark woods to listen for the rest. Black and white was there (the one who sounds like a squeaky bike tire), and two yellow throated warblers were out. I also picked up field sparrows on a glade and a couple of parulas in the dry limestone-dolomite woodlands. Check in here for regular updates of bird sightings from all over Missouri.

Edge adds that later in the migration, one can expect to see:

Nashville warbler, black throated green warbler, yellow warbler, worm eating warbler, Swainson's warbler, Kentucky warbler, and the striking hooded warbler.

If you're interested and in the general area, new members to the Columbia Audubon Society are always welcome. Check out the CAS website here for a list of fieldtrips and guest speakers at the monthly meeting. Happy birding to all!

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