Mid-summer Morning – Yellow-throated Vireo, Acadian Flycatcher, and Northern Parula

Early this morning on another very hot, sunny day, a feeling of stillness and quiet lay over the trees in our yard and in the woods. Many birds that sang from spring through early summer have now fallen silent. But not all. And against the quiet, the songs and calls of a few birds began to emerge. 

A Yellow-throated Vireo sang from down in the woods, and made its way steadily closer and closer up the hill. Its mellow, slow-paced song of two and three-syllable phrases moved through the trees like sunlight, weaving in and out of the leaves. It wasn’t close enough to see, but I could imagine it, a small brightly-colored bird with a yellow-green head, brilliant yellow throat and yellow markings around the eyes that look like spectacles. 

An Acadian Flycatcher called its quiet, sharp, much less-musical song from the woods – ker-cheep! A small exclamation point repeated from a hidden spot deep within a dense cluster of leaves. An Acadian Flycatcher is a small gray-green bird with touches of pale yellow, and white wing bars and a thin white ring around the eye. It perches very still in a small tree in the tangled, lower levels of the woods, usually down near the creek, flying off frequently to catch insects. 

A Northern Parula, another deep-woods loving songbird, sang another quiet song from a hidden, leafy spot around the edges of the woods – a buzzy zee-zee-zee-zee-zup! – that rises to a crescendo and falls off sharply at the end. A small roundish wood warbler, a Northern Parula is an often-hidden jewel – a blue-gray head and back with a patch of green in the middle of the back, a deep yellow throat and breast, and a black and rusty-coral band across the chest.  

An Eastern Towhee called chur-wheee. A White-breasted Nuthatch honked its nasal ank-ank-ank. A Carolina Wren sang a bold and beautiful song. Two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds twittered and snapped fiercely as they flew from the feeder and away. 

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