May 2: Yesterday we had a huge movement of warblers on the property- wave after wave moved through, feasting on the small iridescent green bugs that hover around the house. They were even on the roofs of the garage and house, gorging on the bugs. Their numbers were even higher today. A light, cold rain most of the day and the understory of the woods was absolutely teeming with warblers. They were everywhere- on the deck, on top of the woodpile, underneath the vehicles. I'll never know just how many birds there were, it was impossible to count them all and very hard to watch that many at once.

May 3: Our first Rose-breasted Grosbeaks arrived today. The females were right on schedule, having arrived this very same day last year.

Also arriving were the long-absent Pine Siskin. The Purple Finch numbers are increasing steadily and we had many warblers moving through sporadically throughout the day.

May 4: We now have 3 beautiful male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks that have joined the females. Hard to believe these neo-tropical migrants are kept as caged birds in some S. American countries. Their habitat is so very threatened that I feel a certain honor to have them here.

May 5: Our first Baltimore Orioles arrived today- one day later than last year.

We also had a beautiful male Red-headed Woodpecker stay for the entire day, which was a real treat since we usually only get a quick glimpse of these gorgeous birds. While mushrooming up in Maltby Hills area we found many spring wildflowers- millions of Yellow Trout Lilies stretch on for miles and miles, while many Trilliums & Dutchman's Breeches are also in blossom. A perfect spring day.

May 6: The Red-headed Woodpecker is still here, and we're enjoying this delightful and beautiful bird so very much. He's quite aggressive around the suet feeders and is also quite vocal with his resounding churr churr churr call.

The male Baltimore Orioles are singing their hearts out, and so is the Pine Warbler that is still here. He has a male competitor across the road- when one starts to sing the other one always follows suit. It's so true that birds do battle with song. Received some much needed rain today which means the spring wildflowers will be bursting out all over very soon.

May 7: Finally. Our first male Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrived this morning. I have a feeling this is our ornery lil male that we nicknamed 'Hercules' last summer. He's already hot on the tail of many larger birds, what a character. Also heard our first Ovenbird of the season and this evening a beautiful male Indigo Bunting arrived. Warblers continue to move through in large waves, including Chestnut-sided, one of my favorites. A great birding day in every way.

May 8: Another spectacular day. Our first American Redstarts arrived on the property- the bright colors in all of these beautiful wood warblers just defies description. Chestnut-sided Warblers were abundant and we had the thrill of them gleaning bugs right in front of us near the treeline, just 2 feet away from our faces. I'm sure mine sported a large grin.

Today also brought us our first seasonal sightings of Bank Swallows and Eastern Kingbirds nearby.

May 10: We now have 2 male Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, and a new arrival- a beautiful Lincoln's Sparrow.

May 11: Our melanistic eastern chipmunk made an appearance today. We were quite happy to see him/her as we were a bit concerned that the mink pair may have found him. A very shy, secretive little animal. Good numbers of wood warblers & more firsts for our property - Blue-winged Warblers & Blue-headed Vireo. Rose-breasted Grosbeaks numbers have increased with several first year males arriving yesterday/today. We now have 4 stunning male Indigo Buntings and the female Baltimore Orioles arrived yesterday, doubling the number of orioles.

May 12: Very cold and rainy day- while driving slowly down a nearby road that ends at the Rifle River access, we heard no less than 7 Ovenbirds calling. Such a large voice for a small bird.

May 14: Met with birding friends at Tawas Point State Park today- the birds weren't quite as numerous as last week, but we had a lifebird- a gorgeous Harris's Sparrow. Fun times with good friends.

May 15: Another banner day with good friends at RRRA. The birding was phenomenal, weather conditions were perfect. Many species of wood warblers, vireos and other passerines. A wonderful melody of song.

Our first seasonal sighting of Orange-crowned Warblers & Scarlet Tanagers. These birds are just so vividly colored that photos don't do them justice.
We have our first female Ruby-throated Hummingbird on the property today.

May 17: Scarlet Tanagers made their first appearance on the property today. We also had a first: Evening Grosbeaks, 2 males and 2 females. Gorgeous birds, absolutely stunning.

Through the long winter days I played this special song so often, recordings of time spent last spring enjoying the flutelike trills and pure notes. I'm enchanted by this bird like no other. The song that takes me into the 'zone' where nothing matters but the singing and I listen with my heart as well as my ears. I'm ever so grateful to hear the Wood Thrush singing in our woods once again. Another beautiful songster arrived right behind the thrush- our first Veery.

May 19: What a mix of weather today- sun, rain, hail, thunder. Temps. dropping well below freezing for the past few nights. Good numbers of wood warblers today and all of the birds were feeding heavily.

May 20: Sighted a Black-billed Cuckoo near Prescott today and first seasonal sightings of Sedge Wrens and Cape May Warblers in the area. We had our first Blackpoll and Tennessee Warblers on the property today- wave after wave of birds went through all day, with many of them within reaching distance while I sat in the woods enjoying their colors & songs. Also got a pretty good look at our melanistic eastern chipmunk.

May 22: Beautiful day with southerly winds. Spent the better part of the day within RRRA- Many wildflowers have emerged and sighted our first Tiger Swallowtail butterfly of the season. The park was teeming with Hermit Thrush & good numbers of birds- we had many species of warblers gleaning bugs right in front of our face & the Wilson's Warblers were especially entertaining.

Also enjoyed seeing a newborn fawn- it was on very shaky legs with it's mother closeby, so we didn't stay in the area long- as large as she was, she looked like she was probably going to give birth to a twin very soon.

May 27: We've been birding RRRA quite a bit this week, spending many hours on the trails. Since the area is now quite crowded with holiday vacationers, we spent the day relaxing and enjoying the sights & sounds around the house- including the very territorial Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. We now have 2 males and 3 females.

May 28: Many wildflowers are now in blossom around the property, including Wild Columbine & our beautiful Yellow LadySlipper Orchids.

May 30: Visted Nayanquing Point Wildlife Area and spent an enjoyable afternoon birding. The first Monarchs of the season were out and birds were abundant (so were the mosquitoes). Black-billed Cuckoos, Cedar Waxwings and many empid species. We sat and watched a Great Egret fishing along one of the dikes for a long while- such an elegant bird.

Additional 2002 Monthly Journals: March April June July August September October November December