I leaned back in a chair on the patio, looked up, and waited for a bird to come into the sunny spot overhead. Lights, camera, action… Palm Warbler.
When the sun first hits the tree tops is the best time to see and hear the variety of small songbirds arriving for the winter, or passing through on their way further south.
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are familiar winter visitors – easy to hear, harder to see.
A tiny, long-tailed bird of broadleaf forests and scrublands, the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher makes itself known by its soft but insistent calls and its constant motion. It hops and sidles in dense outer foliage, foraging for insects and spiders. As it moves, this steely blue-gray bird conspicuously flicks its white-edged tail from side to side, scaring up insects and chasing after them.
The Blue-gray Gnatcatcher’s grayish coloring and long tail, as well as the way it mixes snippets of other birds’ repertoires into its own high, nasal songs, have earned it the nickname “Little Mockingbird.”
The Northern Parula “hops through branches bursting with a rising buzzy trill that pinches off at the end.”
The warblers are in my yard because of the laurel oak and all the tasty insects and arachnids it hosts. The tree has a tendency to shed many little leaves, even more so at this time of year. But sweeping is a small price to pay for happy warblers and happy warbler watchers.
Listen: Three Little Birds, Bob Marley