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May 21, 2005 [LINK]

Nesting Scarlet tanagers?

After a day of heavy rains, the skies cleared this morning, and hungry birds filled the tree tops. As soon as I stepped outside I heard the tsee-tsee-tsee song of the briefly-abundant Blackpoll warbler, and within a couple minutes I spotted one up in the branches. Strolling behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad I heard other Blackpoll warblers, as well as a loud Wilson's warbler, which soon popped into view at close range. It was in virtually the same place where I saw one on May 10, quite a coincidence. They nest further north, however, so it's very unlikely to have been the same individual. Further along the trail I heard and saw three Indigo buntings, two of which had the blotchy blue-and-ash plumage of first-year males but sang loudly nonetheless. In the hilltop neighborhood off to the east, I heard the enchanting, unreal song of a Veery, an elusive member of the thrush family I haven't actually seen in five years. Reaching the bend where the final leg of the trail begins, I heard the unmistakeable melodic burry song of a Scarlet tanager, as well as the "CHIP-brrr" contact call. I spotted the male near the top of a tree a few minutes later, and was thrilled that there may be a nesting pair in those woods. I also caught a glimpse of a female Towhee nearby; the males have fallen silent all of a sudden, and were nowhere to be seen. I estimate there must be at least five breeding pairs of Towhees in that wooded ravine. Toward the end of the trail I saw two female Blackpoll warblers as well as a female Redstart.

Posted (or last updated or commented upon): 21 May 2005, 1: 52 PM

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Blog highlights have been compiled for the years 2010-2012 thus far, and eventually will be compiled for earlier years, back to 2002.


The "home made" blog organization system that I created was instituted on November 1, 2004, followed by several functional enhancements in subsequent years. I make no more than one blog post per day on any one category, so some posts may cover multiple news items or issues. Blog posts appear in the following (reverse alphabetical) order, which may differ from the chronological order in which the posts were originally made:

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