Birding at Radnor Lake

April 25, 2012

This morning I drove with a friend to do some birdwatching at Radnor Lake, one of the birding hot spots in the Nashville area. Nashville is about 90 miles from where we live, so this was no small undertaking. It turned out to be a quiet day. We saw a few things at the end of our walk — a singing male Prothonotary Warbler, resplendent in brilliant yellow; a furtive Northern Waterthrush, which is not an easy bird to find; a singing male Summer Tanager, bright red and very cooperative. But we had hoped to see more. This is the height of Spring migration, and Radnor is known for turning up rarities. We didn’t find any.

It would have been easy to feel that we had wasted the day and the long drive. But it was a beautiful morning, breezy, warm, sunny. There were Wood Ducks all over the lake. We saw thrushes and managed to find Scarlet Tanagers — common but gorgeous — Swainson’s Thrushes with their ascending, ethereal, flutelike song, Nashville and Blackburnian and Yellow-throated Warblers. I had some nice time with a good friend. And I was outside, smelling wild roses and the sweet scent of Sycamores.

There was nothing wasted, no reason to be disappointed. Sometimes adjusting expectations is the key to enjoying oneself. Today was a perfect example.

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