So it seems hard to believe a week has passed since we headed down to southern Maryland with our good friend Ross Geredien in search of the elusive (in Maryland, anyway) Swainson's Warbler.
Swainson's Warbler is such a rare breeder in this state, if indeed it still breeds here, that we don't want to say precisely where we were. But it looked like this:
Yup. Good ol' Cypress Swamp. Muck, insects, thorns, heat, sweat. It doesn't get any better than this. We weren't daunted in the least, and headed with our waders deep into the heart of the swamp. Warren's overboots soon began to leak. We temporarily lost our way. Thank God for GPS!!
Alas, we never did find our quarry--Mr. Swainson probably heard us coming miles away. But we did of course see some really cool birds, like this Summer Tanager:
Prothonatary Warblers called all around us, and occasionally came into view:
Ross and Princess wore the right footwear:
Warren did not. These went into the first dumpster we saw post-adventure:
We had spent a (short) night at the Irish Grove sanctuary, an idyllic and historic property owned by the Maryland Ornithological Society. After our morning adventure, it was time for a quick nap, and then back out to find more birds in the nearby marsh of Somerset County.
These were trick-sy in their own way - rails calling from deep in the marsh, sparrows playing hide and seek in the reeds. Seaside Sparrow was one of three life birds on the trip, a fairly common but elusive fellow we'd missed in the past:
If that wasn't enough, Ross found a Sharp-Tailed Saltmarsh Sparrow and gave us great looks in the scope before he had to head home. Thanks, Ross! This was the best pic Warren could get:
Then were off to the beach for more birds. More adventure. More fun.