And of course, the warblers have arrived as well. Several Blue-winged and Prairie Warblers were singing all over during my walk this morning, although I only got brief glimpses of these little yellow birds. A male Black-and-white Warbler also showed up to sing his song and creep nuthatch-like around a tree:
I am always amazed by this bird's outfit. So many stripes!
Late in the morning, I got stuck in a battle zone. Two male Hooded Warblers were calling constantly and chasing each other around a group of small trees (jousting over prime breeding territory, I assume). I've only seen Hooded Warblers once before, and that was at a distance, so I was pretty excited at the chance to hang around these birds while they postured and tussled. Again, these are some amazing outfits:
"Hooded" indeed, although this bird's headgear reminds me more of a balaclava. I guess "Balaclava-ed Warbler" is a bit of a mouthful.... In any case, these were some punky birds:
I love all that yellow (and the hood that looks like a beard from below):
Hooray for little birds with loud voices:
Whichever male wins this territory, hopefully there will be Hooded Warbler babies in these trees before too long. More Hooded Warblers, please!
Speaking of making babies, I was happy to see at least one Eastern Bluebird pair setting up their home:
And while the Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were courting when I visited last week, they've now moved on to the nest-building stage. This nest is a nice little cup of lichen and spider webs, which the male and female are taking turns shaping:
That's the male gnatcatcher working on the nest in the above picture, with his severe dark eyebrows. Maybe someday I'll get a picture that shows off these eyebrows and their angry expression especially well, but here's a more placid portrait of this male in the meantime:
Here are a few more assorted sights to round out today's visit. A Chipping Sparrow, mid-song:
A Greater Bee Fly (Bombylius major), looking a bit like a flying pincushion with that pointy proboscis:
And a Red Trillium, already gorgeous but made even fancier with red-striped sepals that I don't think I've ever seen before:
May is an awesome month!