Birding Notes

Reflections on birds and other wildlife on the edge of a southern woodland

Friday, April 27, 2007

Morning Chorus and More New Arrivals

These are the days when the morning chorus of birdsong is the fullest and most exuberant, and almost every day seems to bring a new song or sighting, as migrants pass through and summer birds return for the nesting season. Yesterday’s arrivals here in our neighborhood included a Wood Thrush, an Acadian Flycatcher, and Barn Swallows.

The morning began at 5:30, still dark, with the far-off song of a Robin. About 10 minutes later, the first Cardinal began to sing, soon joined by an Eastern Phoebe. Then I fell back asleep and didn’t wake up until 7:00. By that time, a full chorus was singing – Red-eyed Vireo, Yellow-throated Vireo, Black and White Warbler, Pine Warbler, Summer Tanager, Goldfinch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Tufted Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Bluebird, Carolina Wren, Brown Thrasher, and House Finch. Downy Woodpeckers whinnied, Red-bellied Woodpeckers churred, Brown-headed Nuthatches squeaked, and Mourning Doves cooed.

As I stepped out onto the front porch around 8:30, Chimney Swifts twittered overhead, and I could hear the high mews of a small flock of Cedar Waxwings. A Red-shouldered Hawk sailed low across the cul de sac to the east and into the trees. Mockingbirds were quiet, but active, flashing their wings as they flew from spot to spot. Two Brown Thrashers and one Robin fed in the grass, and the Bluebird pair was busy carrying food in and out of the birdhouse. A Louisiana Waterthrush sang from down near the creek.

A Great Crested Flycatcher called “whreep!” and "prrrrrt” and – wow! He was gorgeous, perched in the top branches of a big pecan tree, facing the sun, against a blue and white sky with fresh green catkins and small leaves around him. His belly glowed soft yellow, his big gray crested head looked proud, and sunlight filtered through the long cinnamon-colored tail.

By 11:00 am, when I went out for a walk, the skies had begun to thicken with high, slow-moving clouds in many variations and shades of gray. The west looked blue-gray, bruised with the promise of rain later. It was very warm, in the 70s already. A pair of Red-tailed Hawks soared over the Old Field, where blackberries are in bloom. A Wood Thrush sang along one of the creeks – the first and only one I’ve heard so far this season here. White-eyed Vireos sang in the Old Field. And two Barn Swallows were swooping over the grass of a vacant lot near where they nest every year. This was the first time I’ve seen them this season, but they may have been here a while because I haven’t walked along that street for several days. One came quite close to me, over my head, and the other ducked under the roof of a large porch, into the area where their nest has always been.

Later, sometime during the early afternoon, I heard the small, sharp “whit-sah!” of an Acadian Flycatcher calling from down in the woods behind our house, near the creek. This was the first time this season I had heard it, though again, it may have been here for a day or more, and I just hadn’t taken the time to listen for it among all the other bird songs.


Post a Comment

<< Home