Birding Notes

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

Friday, April 24, 2009

Acadian Flycatcher, House Wren, and Black and White Warbler

Today three more bird species made their first-of-the-season appearance here. The familiar call of an Acadian Flycatcher from its usual territory down around the creek in the woods came about on schedule. I’d been listening for it the past few days, and thought I might have heard it yesterday and the day before – but this afternoon, its sharp WHEET-sit was clear and repeated.

Meanwhile, a Summer Tanager, Northern Parula, Red-eyed Vireo, Phoebe, and Carolina Wren sang in the woods nearby, with a Louisiana Waterthrush singing down near the creek now and then. A Great-crested Flycatcher called its deep, rolling Whreep, and four Chimney Swifts twittered overhead.

The female Ruby-throated Hummingbird sat on her nest, but left it for long periods of time. She did not seem to be working on it today, and each time I went outside, she flew away after only a few seconds.

First thing this morning, a House Wren was singing its bright, cheery song in the trees around our front yard, and it continued singing throughout the day – this was the second “first of the season” bird for the day, at least here around our house. I first heard a House Wren singing in another part of our neighborhood about a week ago, and on a late morning walk today – a very warm, bright, sunny day with temperatures that are expected to climb into the upper 80s – House Wrens were singing in four other places.

A Scarlet Tanager sings in the woods across the street, seeming to follow the same pattern of movement around a territory that one did last year. I’m thinking it’s the same one that has returned, but don’t know that for sure. A Red-eyed Vireo also sings in this area – and there are a good number of other Red-eyed Vireos in the woods around the neighborhood. One Yellow-throated Vireo sings from the treetops down near the corner. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are active all around the yard, and their spee-spee calls are heard all day.

The high point of the morning came near the end of my walk, when I was passing a deeply wooded area near a creek, and heard the high weesa-weesa-weesa call of a Black and White Warbler. This is the first time I’ve heard or seen a Black and White Warbler here this spring, and that’s very unusual. They’re usually among our earliest returning migrants, so I was beginning to wonder what had happened to them, and was happy to hear it.


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