Here am I, Where are you?

For the past several days, maybe two weeks or so – the height of the migration season here – I’ve been feeling frustrated because it’s seemed that many of the migrants I usually hear around our house have not come close. I’ve heard them and caught glimpses of some – but they’ve mostly been down in the woods or in the distance. I haven’t yet seen a Summer Tanager, for instance, though they arrived a couple of weeks ago and they’ve been singing and calling in the woods every day. The same thing was true of Red-eyed Vireos – I could hear them in the woods, but not around the yard.

This morning a Red-eyed Vireo singing very clearly in the trees on the edge of our yard felt like a gift. It was a mostly cloudy, warm, humid morning, with rain in the forecast, but with sun still breaking through now and then – an April showers kind of day. The sky in the west was a dark, bruised blue. One female Ruby-throated Hummingbird sat on the feeder as I stepped out onto the back deck, and a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher called spee-spee in the oaks.

The Red-eyed Vireo’s song was its classic Here am I, where are you? Over here, up in the tree . . . sung over and over. At first it was too well hidden in the new foliage of the treetops to see, but I watched, and finally saw it flit from one cluster of leaves to another, where I could see the thick green leaves of the water oak tremble as it moved, and then finally, it came out into the open – a sleek, slender bird with a brownish-olive back, and cream-white breast and belly, and a sharp white stripe over the eye. It moved steadily through the leaves, gleaning insects, and singing as it moved.

In the background as I watched it, a Parula Warbler and an Acadian Flycatcher sang, and a Great-crested Fycatcher called whreeep and brrrrrt. A Scarlet Tanager sang from way down in the woods.

I guess I’ve just been impatient, as usual.

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