Female Blue Grosbeak

Our rainy summer has continued, with another round of heavy showers late yesterday, but this morning brought a break of clearing skies and big sweeps of soft blue with high, cottony clouds. Trees, shrubs, grass – all the landscape was drenched and saturated with rain, lush green, and the air felt warm and humid.

In the old field, a female Blue Grosbeak flew from weed to weed not far from the roadside, switching her long tail from side to side, and calling a metallic chink several times. In the warm sunlight, the large silver bill glinted, and the variations in her tawny color glowed. She looked much more colorful than many illustrations show – copper-brown all over, but darker in the wings, with chestnut wing bars, and darker feathers on her head erect in a slight crest, and other subtle variations all over. She looked radiant and vibrant – the highlight of the day.

Many other birds were active too. The flamboyant songs of Northern Mockingbirds and Brown Thrashers blended with the steady, summery trills of Chipping Sparrows, the soft, blurry notes of Eastern Bluebirds – and songs of Eastern Towhee, Tufted Titmouse, Eastern Phoebe and Carolina Wren. A Scarlet Tanager sang in its hoarse, brassy voice from a tree near our front yard, Great Crested Flycatchers called whreep or burrrt, and a White-eyed Vireo repeated its dry chick-a-perioo-chick in the field.

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