Gray Catbird

When I went out for a walk this morning, I didn’t take binoculars with me because I had a busy day ahead and felt pressed for time. The morning was lovely, still slightly cool with a soft blue sky, high cirrus clouds and fading jet trails, though already the sun felt very warm, heating up fast. As I walked, I spent too much of the time lost in thought and plans, not listening fully to birds or appreciating the day around me. 

About halfway up a steep hill with a large undeveloped stretch of land on one side, a slender, dark bird with a long tail emerged from a tangle of weedy vegetation at about eye level and brought me back into the moment. A Gray Catbird. Looking almost like a shadow at first, the Catbird quickly became animated and stood on a slender branch of a shrub and looked around, switched its tail expressively. It was so close I could see it well, even without binoculars, and it stayed in view for several moments. Shadowy-gray all over, with a neat black cap and a graceful, light way of moving. I wasn’t quite close enough to see the patch of rusty color beneath its tail.

Gray Catbirds are not common here in our neighborhood, though in some years a pair will nest in an area with enough dense vegetation. This one might be passing through, but I hope it might stay around. I didn’t walk on until it slipped back out of sight in a tangle of vines and shrubs.

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