Palm Warblers

After drenching rain that lasted most of the night, this morning still was dark with heavy clouds and a chill, damp breeze. Rainwater dripped from trees, grass and shrubs, stood in low puddles and streamed in ditches. High up in the green leaves of several water oaks growing close together, lots of small birds moved around, all very hard to see in the misty light. Some were singing – Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Red-eyed Vireo, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. But I also saw some that looked brown, with hints of yellow, faint streaks on the sides, a chestnut cap and stripe over the eye. Small, active songbirds with a warbler’s neat shape – but the real clue was the way their tails wagged constantly, in short, quick movements. They were Palm Warblers, fairly common migrants here. Though usually seen foraging on or near the ground, these were gleaning insects fairly high up in the trees and frequently flying up to hawk insects from the air.

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