I took my survey walk along the trail near the house on Saturday morning. The first thing that hit me when I walked outside was the sheer number of birds that were singing. It’s been a while since it was that loud. It was a beautiful spring day, and the birds knew it.

The pond held a few northern shovelers and a bunch of gadwalls (lousy over-enlarged picture above), a duck I hadn’t previously met in the neighborhood. I counted six of them in the pond with the two shovelers, but all the ducks flew away as one when a family walked up to the edge of the pond to skip rocks.

I got this shot of one of the gadwalls on the way out.

Along the way, I saw the usual suspects: mourning dove, carolina chickadee, northern mockingbird, American crow, killdeer, and lots of noisy blue jays.

The blue jays were a nice surprise. They’ve been lying low these past months, but with such a perfect spring day, they were out in substantial numbers. I heard far more than I saw, but I saw quite a few. They are also back in the yard for the first time since August.

The white-winged doves are back as well. Most of them left in November, leaving only a few stragglers behind. Saturday morning, I saw one of those clean-out-the-feeder-in-ten-minutes flocks that hasn’t been around in months.

So it’s spring, although a front came through today to give us one last bite of cold, and I’m curious to see when the ducks will leave for good and when the scissor-tails and swallows will return. I bet the swallows are here by next weekend.

One other thing I noticed on Saturday afternoon. I took the dogs out and the trees were erupting with chatters, screeches, cooing, twirls, and any other sound a backyard bird can make. The jays especially were having a fit. Then, silence as a hawk flew over. As soon as the raptor was gone, the singing resumed, but in a much less agitated manner. Nice of them to warn us.