Howard & Marcy Schwartz
For a bird trip in early May, the nine attendees had weather more appropriate for mid-April. The sky was overcast during the entire trip with temperatures ranging from the mid-40s to the low-50s with a constant, fairly brisk, wind coming off the reservoir. Despite these conditions, the walk along the paved path at Ludlow Reservoir is always an adventure. As soon as we had open views of the water hundreds of swallows of various types came into view. They were mostly Tree Swallows but there were also a good number of Barn Swallows. In addition, some of the group saw at least two Rough-winged Swallows and one Bank Swallow. The Phoebe was in its usual spot building a nest, flying in and out from underneath the fishing pier. We did miss the Yellow-throated Vireo, which has been in the same place for the past few years. In fact, we missed many birds we usually see on this trip, the most notable being the Baltimore Oriole. Normally we see and hear them throughout the walk. This year, however, we did not see any. Very disappointing!
The trip was supposed to have ended by 10:30 but by that time we were just getting started. We had only traveled a little more than a half mile to just past the fishing pier. We kept on going. The birding was slow but we did have good looks at most of the birds we did see. I wanted to go to a location further ahead with good views of the water since we were now walking through an area where trees blocked our view of the reservoir. At that point about half the group turned back due to other commitments. When we arrived at the water, we had an interesting treat awaiting us. The swallows (remember them), mostly tree swallows, hundreds of them, were flying very low to the water and in and around the remaining group who were congregated along the water, almost as if we were pylons for a rather interesting swallow flight competition. By that time it was close to 11:00 and we turned back to return to the cars.
We did see other interesting birds on the way back. We all had good looks, some through the scope, of a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Before we arrived at the parking lot, we had another treat. There were three Bald Eagles interacting among themselves. Flying high then diving at each other. They were quite close so everyone could enjoy the show. In total we saw four eagles. We finally made it back to the parking lot just before noon. In total we had eight warblers (Ovenbird, Black-and-white, Common Yellowthroat, Redstart (more scope views), Parula, Pine Warbler (heard only), Yellowrump, and Palm) and a total count of 39 bird species. We were all a little chilled but everyone considered it another successful Allen Bird Club outing.