A Blue-headed Vireo Returns

The song of a Cardinal at first light ushered in the day of the Spring Equinox, a perfect day that began cool and crisp, with a sunny, softly blue and white sky and a haze of green in the woods as leaves began to emerge.

The highlight of the day was hearing a Blue-headed Vireo’s song near the edge of our woods – the first returning migrant of the year for us, as it usually is. With a slate-blue head and striking white spectacles, the Blue-headed Vireo is bright and always fun to watch, and its song stands out, even among the busy spring chorus, because of its sweet, clear quality and deliberate phrasing. It sounds like this time of year – cool and fresh.

By sunrise, around 7:30, many other singers had joined the Cardinal, including Phoebe, Chickadee, Titmouse, Bluebird, Chipping Sparrow, Pine Warbler, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Carolina Wren, White-throated Sparrow, Towhee, Goldfinch and House Finch. The tiny, high calls of Golden-crowned Kinglets barely could be heard among all the other voices. A pair of House Finches came to one of the bird baths for a quick morning dip. Several Juncos and White-throated Sparrows, one Brown Thrasher, a pair of Towhees, one Robin and a Mourning Dove fed in the grass. A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker worked its way through the trees in the front yard, along with a female Downy Woodpecker, and Brown-headed Nuthatches squeaked and darted in to grab seeds from the feeder.

Early in the afternoon, under a warm sun, the first Tiger Swallowtail butterfly floated around the back yard.

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