Black-throated Blue Warbler at Sandy Creek Nature Center

On a clear, cool, crisp spring morning, birds were singing all along the greenway trail that runs through a part of Sandy Creek Nature Center in Athens. I was there for a bike ride with friends and had promised not to get too distracted by birds, so I didn’t stop often, but when I heard the buzzy zoo-zoo-zoo-ZEEE song of a Black-throated Blue Warbler, I had to take a break.

It was singing from low in a tangle of branches and vines along the edge of the river – a compact little bird that looked mostly dark with a very white belly and a small patch of white on the wing. In its shadowy, leafy setting, the slate-blue color of the back and black face, throat and sides couldn’t be distinguished very well. But it sang as it moved through the branches, and I watched as it snapped up a wiggling caterpillar in its small, thin bill, shook it and swallowed – and then lifted its head and sang again.

Also singing in different areas along the river were several White-eyed Vireos, Red-eyed Vireo, Summer Tanager, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Black-and-white Warbler, Northern Parula, Louisiana Waterthrush, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Common Yellowthroat and Indigo Bunting. And one Barred Owl called a foggy Who-cooks-for-you several times from distant woods.

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