Birding Notes

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

Friday, May 01, 2009

Great-crested Flycatcher at End of Day – And the Call of a Barred Owl

A little before 7:00 this evening, the weather was warm, murky, cloudy, and humid, and the woods were mostly rather quiet. But a Great-crested Flycatcher put on quite a show at the edge of the woods, flying from low limb to limb, calling whreep in a clear, sharp way, and sometimes whrrrreeep in a deeper, rolling, burry way, and sometimes a short, gurgled burrt. It perched on broken-off dead snags in full view, looking all around, showing off a long-necked regal profile with the fine crested head, long bill, pale yellow breast and long cinnamon tail. Directly from the front, it looked comical, its eyes tiny in a big head that looked like a beehive hairdo, turning sideways as if to peer down at me. It moved from branch to branch, hawking insects, and once coming out of a cluster of oak leaves with a wriggling caterpillar, which it snapped quickly down.

The day ended well after dark with the call of a Barred Owl, something we have rarely heard the past few months. It only called three or four times, a simple, long HOOO-oooawww, ending in a long, rumbling vibrato. I made the mistake of going to the window and pushing it open a little further, and heard no more after that.


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