When we got to Smith Oaks, Deanne was feeling tired and so she stayed in the car. I decided to take a very quick look in the trees nearby before walking up to the lake and the rookery islands.
As it turned out, I never reached the lake. Instead, my quick look in the trees turned into an hour of watching and trying to photograph a whole range of birds.
First up were Northern Parulas and Chestnut-sided Warblers, none of which came within reasonable camera reach. Then I was lucky when a Black-and-white Warbler scuttled down a tree trunk next to the path.
Another bird was much tougher to see and to ID but eventually revealed itself to be a Tennessee Warbler.
I had good views of Blue-headed, Yellow-throated and White-eyed Vireos but only the latter came close enough to photograph.
I finally saw the bird I was really looking for, a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and I spent the next 15-20 minutes trying to get a clear photo. He was very obliging when it came to back views.
And I got several partial views of his front and sides.
Then, when I was on the point of giving up, he came into the open just long enough for me to get a semi-decent shot.
On my way back to the car, I passed a couple of birders looking up into the foliage. They kindly pointed out the bird they were watching, a Blackpoll Warbler, which was my third lifer of the day.
Even that wasn't quite the end. We hadn’t driven 20 yards down the road before I had to stop to check out a flash of yellow and black in a roadside shrub. The bird refused to turn around to face me but it was still easy to ID as a Baltimore Oriole. A nice note on which to end a very good half-day of birding.
We saw 43 species on our trip. New life birds were Cerulean, Swainson's and Blackpoll Warblers. 13 other species were new for the year: Belted Kingfisher, Common Nighthawk, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Hooded Warbler, Painted Bunting, Orchard Oriole, Baltimore Oriole, Summer Tanager, Scarlet Tanager, Yellow-breasted Chat, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Yellow-throated Vireo and Blue-headed Vireo.