Young Male Blue Grosbeak

A young Blue Grosbeak male continues to sing in and around the old field. This morning under a hot, sunny blue sky, it sang from a chinaberry tree across the road, on the edge of a rough clearing, and it seemed to be singing today with a little more gusto and fluency. And this time, I was able to get a much better look when it flew from the tree, across the road and into the field, and perched on top of a weed there to sing. Its coloring is a fine, muted, parchment brown, paler on the belly, slightly darker on wings and back, and out in the open a distinct blue shows up in the head, back and tail, like a rich blue shadow. When it disappeared for a few minutes into thick grassy weeds near the ground, it gave its chink call. Then it flew from there back across the road and into one of several large old oaks.

Earlier in the morning I walked through a low, wooded section of the neighborhood where the air still felt cool, and heard the songs of Louisiana Waterthrush, Acadian Flycatcher, Red-eyed Vireo and even a Wood Thrush, all seeming to come from along the wooded creek. A Great-crested Flycatcher called breet. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, speee. And the wispy, insistent calls of baby birds in several different places.

One Summer Tanager sang closer to the roadside, but no Scarlet Tanager, and because I haven’t heard a Scarlet Tanager for several days now, I had just about decided they might have all moved on further north for the summer.

Then in one of the most unlikely areas – just outside our subdivision, across the road from the old field, a Scarlet Tanager was singing in the top of an oak tree. It’s not an area where I would expect to find one at all, and might not have believed it if I hadn’t seen it. But there it was, bright red with black wings in the top of the tree, singing two or three phrases of its song, then putting in a chick-brrr call, then singing again. I can only guess that it might have come across the highway from the more thickly wooded land there.

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