Yellow-throated Vireo at Fountain Creek Nature Center in El Paso County, Colorado
Photo courtesy of Robb Hinds
One concluding sentence to wrap up my essay before I close the blue test booklet, hand it to the professor, and walk down the stairs, out the doors with the world lifted off my shoulders. I can hardly believe my first year of college is over, a year crammed with calculus, botany, chemistry, southwest history, and even a class on childhood in Japan. I don’t really feel much older. Am I that same girl who walked the foothills with tacky yellow plastic bins clutched in her hands six years ago? When it comes to my passion for birds….yes.
With migration in full swing, I leave the dark dorm room and hit the sunny parks for some spring birding. Within twenty minutes I find myself driving down I-25 towards Fountain Creek Nature Center. The road stretches before me, my tires eat the pavement, and it feels good to be out in the crisp weather. From the dirt parking lot, I hear a Plumbeous Vireo playing a question-answer game with himself. “Vireo? Vireee!…Vireo? Vireee!”, he sings repeatedly.
After some birding around I finally find my first Warbling Vireo of the season: simple, plain, and relatively unmarked. A flash of yellow darts across the trees and catches my eye. I lift my bins and am shocked to find, sitting cooperatively, a vireo with a vibrant wash of yellow over its head and throat. Like the Plumbeous Vireo, it has “spectacles”, a line running up the lores and around the eye. But instead of a stark white, this bird’s spectacles are a lemony yellow. “Reee8? Reoee!….Reeee8? Reoee!” sings the vireo. I know what it is, the bird is unmistakable. I am just surprised to see it perched so close, so tame. I forget all about the Warbling Vireo’s simple beauty.
My appetite for migration whetted, I decide to hit another park on the way home and finish the day with a White-eyed Vireo, picking up Northern Waterthrush and a female Hooded Warbler as well. What better way is there than to end the school year and start the summer with the ever-changing motion of birds in migration? Young birders across the states will be taking to the trails, roads, and perhaps unbeaten paths as school lets out. Many have summer trips planned, perhaps with other young birders. If you catch a moment between your bins and the birds, why not share with The Eyrie your exciting spring and summer adventures? Here’s to a great summer!
To send in posts about your summer adventures, email Saraiya at [email protected]. Keep submissions about the length of this post J