Sunday, September 04, 2005

The Early Birder

Early this morning Pheasant Branch Conservancy provided an exuberant rush to the senses with cool and moist air, fresh droplets of rain decorating recently fallen leaves and the chirps and call-notes of migrating birds in the forest canopy above. I just love fall migration. After scouting around the stream corridor trail for a while, I settled on a spot where the introduction was a Black-and-white Warbler clinging to a tree trunk just as nuthatches do. Just moments later I realized I was completely surrounded by wood sprites of every color. Though in their fall suits, I could still make out the faded orange of a Blackburnian Warbler and the still bold yellow wing-bar of the Golden-winged Warbler. A burst of bold notes came from over my shoulder. I swung around to see a singing Carolina Wren, which was quickly joined by another one...perched together at the end of a dead branch. As the impressive concentration of hungry wood warblers moved through the upper-story, I watched insect foragers working closer to the ground...beautiful male and female Black-throated Blue warblers. Confusing fall warblers? I don't think so. With a little time and close study, their unique impressions are still very recognizable and appreciated.

Image © 2005 Michael Allen McDowell

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