Birding Notes

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

Monday, September 21, 2009

Last Day of Summer – Chestnut-sided Warbler, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher – and More Rain

This morning we woke up to soggy gray-green skies again. Our long siege of rainy days continues, with little break. Although the moisture is welcome, gray day after gray day is getting depressing, and all sorts of critters are trying to make their way inside – scorpions, spiders, centipedes, ants, moths.

This morning I stood with the front door open for several minutes, just looking out at the front yard, and a female Ruby-throated Hummingbird almost flew inside – though I’m sure she didn’t mean to, and relieved that she didn’t. She had just come to check out the coral-pink New Guinea impatiens blooming in pots on the porch, and there I was, and she hovered in front of me, up, down, sideways – then dashed away in a bee-line.

A few minutes later, out back in a very soft, light sprinkle, two Phoebes hunted from the tops of dead pines. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers called and flitted in and out of the leaves of the oaks, and three Chimney Swifts passed overhead. Two Red-eyed Vireos exchanged several emphatic REE-ang calls, much louder and more agitated-sounding than their usual whining nyanh, though the quality is similar. Two female or juvenile Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zoomed back and forth around the feeder – they stay busy all day long, even in the hardest rain, it seems. I watched one go to the geranium plants, so lush with red blossoms several days ago, but now they are rather washed out and bedraggled.

Downy and Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Blue Jays, Chickadees, Titmice and – finally! – a Chestnut-sided Warbler, the first migrating warbler I’ve been able to see this season. I didn’t get a very good look, but could see two bright wing bars, a grayish-green back, and white belly.

The day – and the summer – ended with thunderstorms and torrential rain that caused widespread flooding. Here, we were lucky enough to have only a little dampness in the basement and no further problems.


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