Birding Notes

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

Sunday, September 02, 2007

They’re Back . . . Warblers, Vireo, Tanager, and an Eastern Wood Pewee

September swept in yesterday with a fresh wind that blew away the murky, lingering clouds of several days with frequent – and very welcome – showers. Mushrooms have begun to pop up in yards and along the roadsides, and birds have become more active after what seemed like a very long, very quiet period in August. Resident birds have come out of hiding, and several migrants have begun to move through.

This morning around 8:00 am, a small feeding flock spent several minutes in the treetops all around our house. A brisk wind and gray sky – and maybe my sleepy eyes – made it hard to see many of them, but among them were an American Redstart that was impossible to miss, flashing the bright yellow patches on its tail and fluttering here and there like a butterfly; a Black and White Warbler creeping along the branches; a Scarlet Tanager, in autumn greenish-gold and black, lurking deep in the leaves; and a small gray Eastern Wood Pewee that hunted quietly from low branches, and later in the morning sang sweetly from the edge of the woods. A Red-eyed Vireo hunted in the upper branches of the trees, and I watched it once as it hung upside down like a chickadee to pull out and feed on something on a leaf cluster at the end of a branch. The underside of its tail glowed a soft, pale, creamy yellow.

Meanwhile, three or four Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zoomed and chased each other around the feeder. A Pine Warbler sang as it moved through the needles of the pines. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice, Downy Woodpeckers, Hairy Woodpeckers and Carolina Wrens chattered, fussed and called, and the trees seemed very lively for a while.

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