Settling into Early Summer

After being out of town for a week, I was welcomed home this morning by the deep Whreep! of a Great-crested Flycatcher hidden somewhere among the big green leaves of the white oaks beside the back deck, and the back yard looked and sounded almost like early summer. An Acadian Flycatcher called pit-SEET, pit-SEET from down near the creek. A Red-eyed Vireo sang in the woods, and a Red-shouldered Hawk called as it flew back and forth along the treeline to the east. A Parula Warbler continues to sing frequently all around the edges of the woods and even in the trees and shrubs around the house, and I’m beginning to hope the pair might stay to nest.

The weather was warm, sunny and windy. Green anoles scurried along the deck rails, stopping to pump up and down and inflate their pink throats, Tiger Swallowtails laced through the treetops, and wasps and big, droning carpenter bees buzzed around. Among the other birds singing were Black and White Warbler, Pine Warbler, Phoebe, Chipping Sparrow, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Scarlet Tanager, Summer Tanager (way down in the woods, not close), Titmice, and Carolina Wrens – I think a pair has built a nest somewhere in the clutter under the deck – and baby Cardinals peeped furiously, begging to be fed. Chimney Swifts chattered as they passed overhead now and then.

A female Blue Grosbeak (the first one I’ve seen this season) and a Mockingbird took turns taking full-body dips in the bird bath, and a little later a pair of House Finches came for a drink and then went on to sit on the feeder for a while. They almost always come and go together, seeming to be the most domestic of songbirds.

Our White-throated Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Ruby-crowned Kinglets seem to have left for their summer homes while we were gone. I didn’t see or hear any sign of them today, though it’s possible a few could still be around. The greatest flush of migrants probably has passed through or arrived by now, though we haven’t yet heard or seen a Wood Thrush or a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, so I’m hoping there are still some to come. But for the most part, the rush of spring seems to be slowing into the more settled pace of early summer.

Leave a Reply