I was getting envious. Some folks on the Minnesota Ornithologist's Union listserv were going out and seeing fourteen species of warblers in their backyard and reporting shorebirds I've never even heard of from sewage ponds somewhere. It was time for action.
So this morning as I was pulling out of the driveway I noticed some activity across the road. Our neighbors have a wetland in their cow pasture which is really nothing more than a mudhole. In that mudhole, however, I saw two shorebirds. I was running late as usual, but I stopped, pulled out the binoculars, and identified two Lesser Yellowlegs, pretty much by their yellow legs and process of elimination from the bird guide. Tonight as I was waiting for the kids to be dropped off from their ride from church, I was ready. I had the binoculars, and I counted eight Lesser Yellowlegs actively foraging in that tiny mudhole of a pond. I guess this is a lifer for me, since I don't think I have positively ID'd Lesser Yellowlegs before, although I'm sure they have been here every year.
It was finally warm and sunny at noon, and I was in the office, not out pulling nets on a lake, so I decided to go for a walk around our fish rearing ponds. This is usually a pretty good bird walk; part of it is on a berm between one pond and the Grindstone River, and I have seen a Scarlet Tanager there. Sometimes there are even shorebirds. Today I saw what I think was a Northern waterthrush, although I don't remember enough for positive ID. Anyway, when I rounded the corner and came into a grove of pines and mature aspens, I was suddenly in warbler heaven. I saw lots of little birds flitting in the top branches of the trees, and they all looked different from each other. I'm pretty sure I saw a pair of Northern Parula warblers, and I definitely saw a Golden winged warbler. Both lifers for me.
These experiences remind me that it's all out there; you just gotta pay attention!