July 15, 2005 [LINK]

Breeding neighborhood birds

I took a walk behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad for the first time in a while this morning, and had a few pleasant surprises. I saw at least two Great crested flycatchers, presumably part of a family unit. Later I heard a White-eyed vireo ("singing" its odd, jumbled "tune"), and finally spotted him in the tangled bushes. There was also an Indigo bunting that was singing while flying; I have seen as many as three in that area previously. I caught a glimpse of a probable Sharp-shinned hawk as well. Finally, I heard a familiar "wheezy, wheezy" call and soon spotted a Black and white warbler, which is very unusual for this time of year in that location. Breeding? Unfortunately, there was no sign of the Scarlet tanager which I saw back in May, but that was further along the trail.

Many thousands of magenta thistle flowers are now in bloom, meaning that goldfinches can at last begin building their nests for this year's brood. They are already quite dispersed, and we only see them occasionally; quite a contrast from the spring months! Speaking of no-shows, I haven't seen a hummingbird in over two months!