Birding Notes

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

Friday, September 18, 2009

End-of-Summer Rain

The past three days have been cloudy, humid, and often rainy. It rained off and on all night last night, a hard, calm, steady rain, waking us in the morning with the sleepy sound of rain falling on the leaves of the oaks just outside our windows – making it hard to want to get out of bed, tempting just to pull the covers up and stay there and drift in and out of sleep – and rain continued most of the morning.

Late in the morning, I sat for a while in a doorway, watching the rain fall. The only bird I saw at first was a Brown Thrasher that dived from a Savannah holly at the corner of the house into a tangled thicket on the other side of the driveway.

The sound of the rain drowned out most other sounds. Then I heard the peep of a Cardinal and saw a very drenched pair of Cardinals perched in low branches. Titmice and Chickadees began to chatter and flit from bush to bush. A small grayish bird made its way through the highest parts of the trees, moving and behaving like a warbler, but I couldn’t make out a clear view, or hear a call. The leaves still are very dense and green and full on all the trees. Even with all this heavy rain, few leaves are washing down, only a stray solitary brown leaf tumbling down now and then.

Several Crows flew by, cawing. I heard the cry of a Blue Jay as the rain let up a little, and the rattle of a Red-bellied Woodpecker. Fog began to rise in a dense cloud all around, but the rain kept falling lightly, raindrops shuddering the leaves, spattering the ground, hitting in puddles, rainwater rattling down and out of gutters.

Rain continued most of the day, often hard. When I stepped outside in one brief break, with only a light sprinkle coming down, two Eastern Wood-Pewees and one Pine Warbler were singing in the woods. A Red-shouldered Hawk cried kee-yer from somewhere beyond the treeline in the east, and a Red-eyed Vireo gave a harsh, nasal REE-ang call. Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Brown-headed Nuthatches, Chickadees and Titmice all were active around the yard, and a tiny blue-tailed skink, maybe two inches long at most, including the tail, scurried in and out around the potted plants on the back deck.

After several dry, hot summers, this stretch of rainy weather feels like the way a summer should end.


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