Field Pansies and Other Wildflowers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, and a Black and White Warbler’s Song

This morning clouds of pale purple Field Pansies (Viola bicolor) spread across the rough, ragged edges of the Old Field that runs along the dead-end road just outside our neighborhood. The individual blooms look like frail, miniature violets on tall stems with long, lobe-shaped leaves. They’re an introduced wildflower and probably considered a weed, but in this drab, much-abused spot, they look lovely.

Bluets, Henbit, Dandelions and several other tiny blue, yellow and white wildflowers also are blooming along the roadsides. Mockingbirds have joined the Brown Thrashers in singing, along with Pine Warblers, Bluebirds, Phoebes, Robins, House Finches, Chickadees, Titmice, Cardinals, and Carolina Wrens – just about all of our year-round resident birds are singing now, I think.

White-throated Sparrows also are singing, and their plaintive Come-a-way with me sounds especially bittersweet at twilight or on a day like today, under a melancholy sky heavy with quiet, layered gray clouds. And today I heard the “squeaky-wheel” song of a Black and White Warbler for the first time this season. Since we’ve been gone so much lately, I’m sure I’ve missed a lot, but for me, it’s a first.

After a winter season in which Golden-crowned Kinglets have been infrequently heard or seen around our house, the past two days I’ve been hearing their high-pitched see-see-see calls often in the pines, and today watched one with a bright yellow crown feeding in the limbs of a pine. It’s nice to see and hear them again!

At least one Red-breasted Nuthatch is still coming to our feeders regularly, possibly two. I haven’t yet been out often enough to be sure.

And finally, when I returned from a walk just after noon, I stopped to listen for a while to a Chipping Sparrow singing from a perch on the bare branch of a water oak. I watched for several minutes as it sang a high, delicate song that was recognizable, but quite different from its usual monotone trill. Chipping Sparrows are constantly amazing me with the variety of their songs. This song sounded silvery and pretty. It was a rather high, metallic, jingling sound, mostly all on one note, but with subtle variations, and it was quieter than the usual Chipping Sparrow song, not so strong or held so long. At the same time, another Chipping Sparrow on a nearby branch sang back to this one, in the same kind of song.

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