Tag Archives: Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Three little birds

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

You’re welcome to our bugs, little migrating friends!

When you are looking up at birds…

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…the bird butt is a pretty common shot.

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Also the partly obscured shot.

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I think this is a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.

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Yellow-throated Warbler.

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I checked Birdcast early this morning for the Migration Forecast and it looked like last night was a big night for migration. I found a mixed flock of warblers right down the street from our house, in a big live oak tree.

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The well-named Yellow-throated Warbler shows off its bright yellow throat in the canopy of forests in the southeastern United States. It hops up branches, working its way high into the canopy probing for insects in crevices and clumps of pine needles, much like a Brown Creeper or Black-and-white Warbler. Unlike those birds, the Yellow-throated Warbler is gray above with a black triangle below its eye and a white eyebrow. It is also one of the few warblers that can be found during the winter in the U.S.

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American Redstart.

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Sweet.

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This bird was calling very loudly for such a small bird. It’s a Yellow-throated Vireo.

A bird of open deciduous forests and edges, the Yellow-throated Vireo is one of the most colorful member of its family. Not only does this bird have a bright yellow throat, it looks as if it’s wearing bright yellow spectacles. This small heavyset songbird slowly hops through the canopy picking insects off branches and twigs. Males sing a burry three eight, on repeat throughout the day. Females join the males with a harsh scolding chatter during aggressive encounters.

A morning sampler of driveway birds

From my front picture window by the couch, while sipping coffee, I could see a small flock of warblers moving through the trees so I went out in the driveway with my camera.

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the Norfolk Island pine.

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Yellow-rumped Warbler.

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Overhead, a noisy Osprey.

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Raptor-ous.

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I love that I see Ospreys in my neighborhood all the time, all year round. A day never goes by without seeing or hearing at least one.

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My town is on a peninsula between the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon. Good fishing!

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Turkey vultures too!

Not a lot bigger than a gnat

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Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in an orange tree, spied from along River Road in south Sewall’s Point.

First time I’ve seen one of these tiny fellows. I got ID help on the Facebook page What’s This Bird.

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.

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A Black-and-white Warbler was nearby.

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And a few Yellow-rumped Warblers were in the neighborhood too.

All of these little insect-eating birds are winter residents, in town for “the season.”