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!
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:
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!