Thursday, August 28, 2008

The warblers are back

I did make it down into the river bottom this morning, and as it turned out, didn't even need the mosquito net yet (the little tiny ones that swarm in September must not be hatched yet).  I got into birds fairly quickly.  Tennessee warblers were calling prominently, using callnotes I don't remember from spring, sort of a si-see, with somewhat variable numbers of notes.  Bay-breasts were about, as was a young male Wilson's, and a female-type black-and white.  A male mourning appeared suddenly much higher up than I usually see them, about 15 feet up a dense tangle composed of a grape vine smothering a pine tree.  I was too slow for a pic, though there probably wasn't yet enough light anyway.  Another Oporornis appeared near it, either a female mourning, or maybe a Connecticut, but I didn't get a good look.  Nashvilles started showing up and I watched one low down idly, before suddenly realizing as it changed positions on its perch that it was fully hooded rather than capped with blue - a real Connecticut.  Obviously by the time I had the scope on it for a pic it was chased off by one of the bay-breasts (or perhaps more accurately this time of year faintly-bay-flanked).  

The warbler above is a young Tennessee.  Like the warbling vireos, they're much yellower in the fall than spring (especially the young birds).  The Tennessee's and Nashvilles were foraging in the thick tall-grass prairie which is taller than me.  I think the plant it's on is called wingstem.  I scanned up and downstream along the river hoping to pick up an olive-sided without success, though there were lots of pewees and waxwings around to get my hopes up.  Cardinal flowers were again blooming along the water's edge; I was worried their stand might have washed away when the water was much higher this spring than last year, but clearly they're built to stand up to it.

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