Chestnut-sided Warblers

Early this afternoon, Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees were taking turns bathing in a shallow clay saucer on the rail of our back deck, when two small round yellow-green heads and gray faces emerged among the leaves of the white oaks just above the rail. They were Chestnut-sided Warblers, each face marked with a crisp white eye ring, and their fall colors neat and fine – olive-yellow back, two distinct cream-yellow wing bars on dark wings, and a clean white breast. One dropped down to the deck rail and sat there for two or three minutes, waiting its turn among the low-hanging leaves. Unfortunately, the Titmice and Chickadees were in no hurry. One after another – sometimes two at once – they took their time fluttering and splashing and thoroughly soaking in the water. Meanwhile, three Ruby-throated Hummingbirds zipped and twittered around the feeder that hangs nearby, several times startled away by splashing water or the other birds, but always returning. Finally the warblers gave up and flew away. Maybe they came back later.

It was an active half-hour or so in a back yard that has seemed more often quiet than not for several weeks. The Chestnut-sided Warblers are among the few neotropical migrants we’ve seen so far this migration season.

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