The B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber startles us as it howls through the cloudless sky. It also scares up a Yellow-billed Cuckoo from a shrub at the river’s edge, followed by a gold-tipped Northern Flicker.
We’re standing on the seawall at Baltimore’s Fort McHenry National Monument. The bomber—a stunt for the Preakness Day horse race at the nearby Pimlico Race Course—vanishes quickly. In the stillness that follows, we notice two Barn Swallows in frenzied courtship along the ramparts. Behind the chatty couple, a Red-winged Blackbird surveys the harbor from its perch on a defunct cannon.
Our guide this afternoon is Keith Eric Costley, a Baltimore native and graphic artist who used to visit Fort McHenry weekly to tally birds and now makes it five or six times a year. He shows us the stand of holly trees he crawled through to pursue Northern Saw-whet Owls in December. Now that it’s mid-May, those birds are long gone; so instead, we're on the lookout for spring migrants moving up the East Coast. --Christine Grillo
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