Thursday, October 08, 2015


A birding hot spot up on the hill

Surfs up! Shoals of birds wash over the land, wave on wave, wild songs and whipping wings.

Dim sky and fading season drain the color from the world, painting trees drab and hillsides dismal. Fog falls. Watercolor light shines a maple here, a cottonwood there, bright red and yellow like a beacon.

A White Tailed Deer barks and snorts behind the cow barn, right next to the Warlock, then bounds north, all flash and flagging. Watch the road you silly thing. It is much more dangerous than an old lady, too slow to even catch you with a camera, and a pair of binoculars that will not shoot.

The Warlock

So many sparrows on this unscheduled bird walk. Song, White-throated, White-crowned abound. Was that a Tree Sparrow? Coulda been but maybe not. The light is so dim today, although it is sunny over on the mountains.

It's sunny over on the mountains

Poplars are companionable trees, gossiping as I pass. The tiniest zephyr sets them singing stories that will soon be silenced. 

Ooh, a House Wren. It announces itself to me, chatter, chatter, chatter, out to branch tip scold. In come a half a dozen Song Sparrows. No wonder you can always pish up a Song Sparrow. They must be friends of wrens.

Somebody's been gossiping around the water cooler

A leaf is as loud as a lark these days, tumbling down, down, down, with a crackle and a ricochet, leaf to leaf to leaf mould.

I think they are all birds and look every time one falls.

And then, as I crest the first set of hills into the Thirty-Acre Lot, a different call. The strident and distinctive song of some large construction machine backing up.

It is very loud and very close.

What the heck? 

And so my little idea to hike up to my favorite little hotspot between barn and first hay field to look for warblers is suddenly extended. Back and back and back to the Old Spreader Field, just to be sure. 

Yep, it's over at the neighbors. They are building a new barn. We took a spin yesterday to take a look. Very nice.  

Then down the hill again to breakfast and a second cup of coffee. So many fine things to see today out here on these north-looking hills. 

I spotted one of these on our Sunday hike...or a fruit of one.
 Thimble Berry, Flowering Raspberry, call it what you always seemed to me to be the very taste of summer and all the better for its scarcity.
Sunday's berry was just a little sour like the fading of the season but delicious all the same.
Birds seen: 
Canada Goose
American Crow
American Kestrel
American Robin
American Goldfinch
Cedar Waxwing
Song Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Yellow-rumped Warbler
House Wren
House Finch
Northern Cardinal
Blue Jay
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-Winged Blackbird
Birds looked for and maybe heard but their call is so indistinct and insect-like...Palm Warbler. I paused at the spot where I have seen them and played their call on my phone...answers quickly came from several places. Were they? Or were they not? I just don't know.

Update: Second time this has happened in recent weeks. .....You probably think I'm making it up but I'm not..... After all that hiking looking for a Palm Warbler and picking up a tick in the process I was out walking the pups.....Standing next to the garden pond looking up at the place where years ago I once saw a Wilson's Warbler. 

And there's a little warbler. Two white spots under the tail. 
It came down and LANDED ON THE GARDEN POND rim!!!! about ten feet from me and sat there so I could get a good look.

Rusty crown, yellow undertail, flicking tail. Yeah, Palm Warbler. It noodled around me for a while and then got into a battle with another one and off they went...only the second and third ones I have ever seen! I swear my hair stood on end. Just uncanny.


Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Oh, what a perfect distillation of a lovely autumn day! And I sure shared your delight and surprise at finally seeing that warbler. Thank you over and over again for your many wonderful posts that so vividly describe your own personal paradise.

threecollie said...

Jacqueline, thank you so much for your kind words. It was such fun, despite the tick. And to have the warbler come right to the yard was just uncanny.