Brown Thrasher Singing and Bluets in Bloom

On a warm, sunny, spring-like morning, a profusion of tiny bluets bloomed among the stubbly, dry brown grass along the roadside, and a Brown Thrasher sang – the first one I’ve heard singing this year.

The shy bluets only showed up when I walked right by them, almost through them – invisible from further away, very common small wild flowers, each with four pale blue petals and a sunburst-yellow center, satiny and warm, all together like a filmy cloud floating over the rough winter ground.

It took me several minutes to find the Thrasher, screened by a tangle of water oak limbs and weedy shrubs. He was perched in an oak, but only about halfway up, not at the top, and after a minute or two, I realized that there were two Thrashers singing, back and forth, not far away from each other. Their songs both sounded a little slow and rusty, with longer than usual pauses between the phrases, and sort of casual and easy, not too competitive yet. But – along with Pine Warblers, Eastern Bluebirds, Carolina Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and Northern Cardinals, all singing, too – it’s beginning to sound like spring.

It’s been a long, unusually cold winter here, and it’s far from over yet, but it looks like the week ahead will be mostly warm and sunny.

By noon today, the wind had become strong and gusty, swinging the bird feeders in our front yard back and forth, ringing the wind chimes, and rushing through the pines and dry leaves still clinging to some of the oaks. The warm air felt restless and strange. Turkey Vultures and Black Vultures soared, and a Red-tailed Hawk sailed low over the treetops and then up fast, riding the wind. Small birds seemed mostly to be staying in the shelter of shrubs, but Pine Siskins called zhreeeee from somewhere high in a mixed stand of pines and young oaks, American Goldfinch mewed, Yellow-rumped Warblers flung out check notes as they flew, Brown-headed Nuthatches squeaked, and a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker clung to the trunk of a pecan tree and tapped steadily.

The conkaree song of a very few Red-winged Blackbirds could be heard, and this morning there seemed to be fewer Robins around than there have been most days lately.

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