The day started cool, very overcast and a bit damp, but by about 10, the clouds had risen and showed cracks that let the sun peek through.  By about 10:15, they had dropped much lower, thickened considerably, and it felt like rain was about to fall.  Luckily, it never actually did.  Matt Nadolny, his grandparents Brent and Mary Byers, and Kathy Halle turned out for what was a very active walk.  We didn’t get many of the less common birds, but the ones we did get were abundant!  We had dozens of Bluebirds, many Phoebes and Palm Warblers, and large numbers of Swamp, Song and White-throated Sparrows to allow us to learn these birds pretty well by the time the walk was finished.  A resident Northern Harrier female hunted the fields around us, and a Red-headed Woodpecker flew over at one point, letting us see the characteristic big white blocks on the back edge of the wings.  The most interesting of the non-bird animals was the Arrowhead Spider (Verrucosa arenata) which had spun her web across the path at just about head height.  As I carefully moved the remains of her web to make it possible for us to pass underneath, and showed her to the group, it became clear that she was making repeated attempts to bite my thumb.  Luckily, she was too small, and my thumb is just too darned tough, so she never actually got a chance to show me that her bite is harmless..  The list is up on eBird, as usual, and it was a very pleasant day; especially watching a couple dozen crows playing playground games with a pair of Cooper’s Hawks for a half-hour or so down at the end of the fields.  Periodically one or both hawks would fly out from the trees they were trying to rest in, causing the crows to jeer at them and play dodge for a couple of moments.  Alas, I took no photographs, so here are some photos from the internet:

Palm Warbler (very yellow underneath, plain face, shows white patches in the tail as it flies, pumps its tail often when standing),

Swamp Sparrow (reddish wings, grey face sort of like a cleaned-up Song Sparrow, white throat like a White-throated, clean belly and no wing bars),

Song Sparrow (heavy, triangular lower moustache line, brownish background look, heavy, smudgy streaking, long, rounded tail),

White-throated Sparrow (large, very light or white eyebrow stripe, usually with a yellow spot at the front, white throat, white wingbars),

Northern Harrier (owl face, white rump, soars like a Turkey Vulture, low over the fields),

Red-headed Woodpecker (flying) (dark bird, about Flicker-sized, big, obvious white blocks in the wings),


and Arrowhead Spider (yellow or white triangular patch on the abdomen).