Song of a White-throated Sparrow

On a crisp, chilly, brightly-sunny morning, not a cloud in a deep blue sky, the world here looked like fall, with crusty faded leaves and many of them falling now. There’s not much color in the foliage this year, but the summer greens are fading, and there are some spots of yellow, orange and brown. A few small trees already stand bare.

Though it was a beautiful morning, there were surprisingly few birds around. I might hope it was because of the chilly temperatures, but don’t really think that’s true. I stopped several times while walking to listen and look. The one new note was the haunting whistled song of a White-throated Sparrow, the first one I’ve heard this season. The singer was hidden way out in the old field by the highway, and its song could barely be heard through the noise of heavy traffic. It only sang once, and I found no others along the way.

Although I counted 27 species in all, they were very widely scattered, and few in number, and the overall feeling was of a great quiet, and almost an absence of birds. It may just have been the day, or the time of day, or my luck – and yet, this is the way it has seemed this whole month of October so far, usually a month of a lot of migrating bird activity, both birds passing through, going further south, and others arriving for the winter. I have not yet seen or heard a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker – very unusual – and have heard only one very distant Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and a few Golden-crowned Kinglets.

So, though I don’t want to feel pessimistic or negative, this is simply the way it has seemed so far this month.

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