Feeding Flock – With Hermit Thrush, Cedar Waxwings, Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets

Several minutes later, around the entrance to our subdivision, the grass and shrubs and trees rustled with the activity of songbirds, a feeding flock of several different species – Chipping Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Eastern Bluebirds, Downy Woodpecker. A Red-bellied Woodpecker rattled. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker mewed from back in the trees somewhere. The impossibly high, thin seets of Cedar Waxwings pierced the air from where they sat, almost invisible at first, fairly low in some pines.

Two Northern Mockingbirds fed with the much smaller birds in the grass. Eastern Towhees scratched up leaves below the bushes. Northern Cardinals pecked at the ground in the shadows. Tufted Titmice and Carolina Chickadees chattered in the trees. A soot-gray Eastern Phoebe quietly hunted, swooping down from a perch and back up like a shadow.

Some chup-chup calls sounded like a Hermit Thrush, except that the calls were doubled – the familiar chup repeated twice, again and again. Then sure enough, a Hermit Thrush flew up from the ground near a hedge and into a small tree, where I could see it fairly well, with its round and watchful eye and dark-spotted breast, quickly raising and slowly lowering the tail, and continuing to call.

A Ruby-crowned Kinglet moved through holly bushes, stuttering its dry jidit-jidit-jidit. At least two or three Golden-crowned Kinglets called from much further up in the trees. Tiny gray birds, flickering through the branches, never still, they were hard to see, but I managed to get one good, clear look at the black and white striped face and head, and yellow crown of one – probably the best view I’ve had of a Golden-crowned Kinglet so far this fall.

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