Having learned that blue grosbeaks were recently sighted at Eagle Bluffs Conservation Area, a friend and I searched for them on our morning visit to that fabulous floodplain refuge. As is often the case in nature, we failed to locate our quarry but saw many other species in the process; indeed, we encountered more than 45 avian species during our two hour visit.
Among the morning highlights was a large flock of American white pelicans, an abundance of great blue herons, a few bald eagles, a handful of great egrets and the usual mix of summer songbirds, dominated by indigo buntings, dickcissels, tree swallows and, of course, red-winged blackbirds; other sightings included yellow-billed cuckoos, eastern phoebes, eastern kingbirds, Baltimore and orchard orioles and a lone blue-gray gnatcatcher.
Fortunately, blue grosbeaks often stick around to raise a second brood and we should have more opportunities to observe these attractive summer residents before they depart for Central America and the Caribbean. Whether those attempts will be fruitful remains to be seen but uncertainty fuels the joy of birding.