Saturday, May 5, 2012

Many Bright Creatures in Two Gray Days, Part 2: Birds and Flowers

There were tons of birds out and about on Thursday and Friday morning when I visited the meadows of Naugatuck State Forest, including some very colorful newly-arrived migrants that stayed active the whole time I was there. These sorts of wet, overcast days seem to be just about perfect, it turns out, for seeing awesome creatures (a fact I will need to remember for the future), and I found only one real downside: My camera has a very hard time focusing on quick-moving birds in low-light conditions. Nevertheless I managed to capture a few pictures of these flying gems as they flitted among the bushes and trees around me.

A bunch of Yellow Warblers made a strong presence, announcing themselves with their loud cheerful songs:

Several Blue-winged Warblers were hanging around, too, singing their little songs that sound like a wheezy breath in and out (which, since I read that description in my Peterson field guide, is the only thing I can think of now when I hear these birds):

Sing it, little bird!

A single male Chestnut-sided Warbler graced me with his presence, and even came quite close:

I honestly think this is one of our prettiest birds. He has so many colors, and such an interesting costume! Even from the back, he's a striking little creature:

There were Ovenbirds singing all around, but I only saw one individual who popped up into view for a few seconds before flying off again:

Also hanging out (though not within camera-range) was a male Scarlet Tanager, some Black-throated Green Warblers, a Black-and-white Warbler, a Blue-headed Vireo, and probably many other species that I didn't see or identify. I love the huge variety of cool birds that are showing up now!

The weather also made for some lovely wildflower sights -- colorful blooms were practically luminescent against the damp ground. Here's another, better view of the Wood Betony that I found the other day, with its gorgeous yellow and/or red whorls of blossoms:

I'm definitely impressed by the range of possible colors on these plants:

This lovely little Starflower (Trientalis borealis) shone out from under the trees:

Huh, a flower with seven petals (normal for the species).... How strange, and yet beautifully symmetrical!

I was very happy to see these Wild Red Columbines in bloom -- they're one of my favorites, and I don't find them very often:

And I can't believe how utterly gorgeous these Pink Azalea (Rhododendron periclymenoides) blooms were, like something straight out of a fairy tale:

Finally, not to be outdone by the flowers, the masses of cedar-apple rust galls on the Red Cedar trees were pretty phenomenal -- and I thought the handful of orange-tentacled galls on the trees outside our apartment windows were impressive!

After two days of exploring the woods in what I thought would be less than ideal conditions, I have definitely come to appreciate the benefits of soggy weather. Here's to active birds, reptiles, and amphibians, blooming plants, and lots of color on deceptively gray days!


  1. Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth. I live in Ontario, but it is neat to see what someone in Conn. sees from day to day.