The month of April has been full of work, rainy weekends and the first signs of spring migration. On each Friday I would drive home tired from the week and consider my bird watching options. How tired am I? Can I muster myself out of bed either morning of the weekend early enough for some birdwatching? What is the weather going to be? Is it going to rain again? Do I want to go somewhere local or is it time for a trip out to Shenandoah? Is there any house work that simply cannot be ignored any longer?
In April, I was always tired by Friday, but never too tired. It rained a lot, but not constantly. And I did not make any trips out to Shenandoah (I think I will do that next weekend). Instead, I visited Dutch Gap Conservation Area (DGCA) on three successive weekends.
You might think that visiting the same place three weekends in a row would get old. It probably would, if the visits were not in the spring. I have walked the same exact two miles each weekend, and seen lots of the same stuff each time. But I have also noticed changes each time. In my first trip, there were no American Redstarts. Today, American Redstarts were everywhere. The number of White-throated Sparrows that I see each week is less and less as they move north. And it seems like there are dragonflies and butterflies everywhere.
So, here is the first in a series of pictures from my trips to DGCA in April. On the 13th I saw several Swamp Sparrows at various points of my hike. This particular specimen took a few moments to scan its surroundings from the convenient perch of a fallen tree. While it scanned, I found my photographic opportunity.