Hermit Thrush, Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Eight Species of Warblers at State Botanical Garden

On a warm, cloudy morning with very gray light, a friend and I were greeted by the songs of a Black-and-white Warbler, an Eastern Phoebe, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and several Yellow-rumped Warblers when we arrived at the State Botanical Garden in Athens. The gray light made it a little hard to see birds all morning, but it was a very nice walk, rich with birds all along the way, and the perfect way to welcome the spring.

Eight warbler species were singing – including Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Common Yellowthroat, and Yellow-rumped, Yellow-throated, Pine and Black-and-white Warblers, and one Hooded Warbler. Several White-eyed Vireos sang in shrubby areas along the river, and at least one Blue-gray Gnatcatcher called a spritely spee-spee.

Two brightly colorful Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers went round and round the trunk of a tree just inside the woods, one chasing the other, for several minutes – fun to watch. A wide-eyed and watchful Hermit Thrush came out from under a shrub to forage with White-throated Sparrows. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet flitted from branch to branch in a small tree, very close by. Two Great Blue Herons flew over, slowly, majestically. Northern Rough-winged Swallows swept low over the open garden areas. A Pileated Woodpecker trumpeted its call. And an amazing number of Cedar Waxwings flocked almost everywhere.

In the beaver pond area, we caught a glimpse of the bright yellow throat and black mask of a Common Yellowthroat that was singing and singing from a tangle of shrubs. A Swamp Sparrow came out to walk along a strip of dry mud. A Louisiana Waterthrush flew directly over us, low and singing, and a little further on, we watched another inspecting tree roots along the banks of a creek.

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