A Flame in the Leaves

Early this morning as I walked up the driveway to get the paper, I heard a Scarlet Tanager singing in the big Red Oak tree just up the street at the corner. The sun was already up and shining on the tree. I searched for the singer, without much hope, because Scarlet Tanagers are well known for singing from perches hidden deep in the leaves. But there it was – a tiny sunlit flame of fierce red against a cloud of new-green leaves. It was too far away to see the contrasting jet-black wings.

I heard the first song of a Scarlet Tanager about a week ago, April 19, down in our woods near the confluence of the two creeks, so I think that’s about when they returned. A couple of days later, Monday, April 21, around 7:30 in the evening, I heard its familiar chick-brrrr calls in the woods around the back yard. Since then, at least one or two have been singing and calling every day.

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