Happy (human AND avian) Mothers Day!
After hiking and picknicking at Sherando Lake (near the Blue Ridge) yesterday, we were lucky to see a pair of Blue-gray gnatcatchers busily building a nest in a tree right next to the parking spaces at the entrance from the highway. How convenient! Presented for your viewing pleasure is a 20-second video clip of the tiny "expectant mother" in action. (As any experienced birder will quickly note, the added sound effects are fake.) To see a closeup still image, click HERE. Note that the nest is made almost exclusively of tree lichens. We also saw an American redstart singing loudly, plus the first Red-eyed vireo of the season and a Hairy woodpecker. Heard in the distance was an Ovenbird, plus other probable warblers.
This morning I went walking behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad and saw several Yellow-rumped warblers (all males), a male Yellow warbler, and the first Nashville warbler I've seen in years. Plus a Pileated woodpecker (female), two flickers, two Red-bellied woodpeckers, a Downy woodpecker, two Brown thrashers, and a Red-eyed vireo.
UPDATE: Here's a (pop-up) photo of Sherando Lake, which I took yesterday. I forgot to mention that I saw a Baltimore oriole out back this morning, and a Ruby-throated hummingbird (male) late this afternoon.
FURTHER UPDATE: For some reason, I can't get the movie to play over the Internet. I've posted video clips to Web sites four times previously without a hitch, and this is the first time I've encountered such a problem. I'll see if I can fix it...
May 9, 2005
LAST (?) UPDATE: The movie clip is working now after I modified its file name slightly. That should not have mattered, however, so something else must be amiss somewhere.