Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Back on the Walk

I'm back in Thomasburg now, and this morning I was back on the walk. It is a truly terrible day today, hot, humid and smoggy, but I was out early enough to still enjoy myself. Two weeks away and some rain has made a big difference. Grass, shrubs, weeds and grapevine have all grown spectacularly, greening the place right up, but also providing much denser cover for the birds. So I heard more than I saw.

The first thing I noticed being back home was how different it sounds here. I wrote in other postings about the birds around the place I was staying in the County, but I didn't mention that birds I was missing. In the yard here the house wren sings loudly and often. There is almost always a song sparrow singing, and a gold finch or two as well. I can also almost always here a common yellowthroat singing across the street. I heard all of these in the County, but just rarely. The bird I didn't here while I was there that nests just about every half acre around here is the field sparrow. As I noted in my recent post about sparrows, the field sparrow is a very plain little sparrow, but it has a very distinctive song. The field sparrows around here sing all morning and all late afternoon.

Out on the walk this morning I was pleased to see and hear many of the birds I've been following this season. The Brewster's warbler is still out there, beyond the edge of the far field, still singing. The chestnut-sided, common yellowthroat, black and white, and American redstart are all still singing too. The vesper sparrows who were nesting just by my warbler lookout rock seem to have finished up and moved on. But the kingbirds nesting in the old apple tree are still there, though nestlings if hatched aren't big enough to be heard from the ground yet. I took pictures of these locations and more, and even one of the Brewster's warbler (a shot that won't actually show anything--the bird was too far away for the equipment I use), but I seem to have left my USB cable behind, so no downloading images until I can retrieve it.

Of course I was also looking for the orchard orioles--I saw a female Baltimore oriole, and another that flew by too quickly to be identified. I learned a lot about orioles while I was in the County. There was a nesting pair of orchards orioles in the yard there, with noisy nestlings that they were working hard to feed. And there were Baltimore orioles nesting just below and down at the water. Orioles sing some after they start nesting, but otherwise they are very quiet nesters for the most part. They nest very high, and slid in and out of the foliage smoothly and quickly. I got lots of practice watching for them while I was away, which will help, but I'm not terribly hopeful that I will find the orchards again here, even if they are nesting at the edge of the field in the poplars (I have a picture of where I think there might be orioles nesting, of one kind or the other, but it will probably take a pretty long vigil to see them, if indeed they're there--which will have to wait until the weather improves).

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