Theresa and I went hiking at Fort Mountain State Park in Murray County today. The forest was alive with song. We heard lots of BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS, YELLOW-THROATED WARBLERS AND BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLERS. Along Tower Rd. I heard one lone RED CROSSBILL calling as it flew over, which was nice.
There was a male and female RED-BREASTED NUTHATCH present near the rock wall along the Tower Trail. These two acted like a pair, but we didn't observe any activity that would absolutely confirm breeding. I had a pair here in 2013 which I suspected might be breeding that gave me the slip in late April of that year. I plan to check on these in a few weeks.
The bird of the day was a singing BLACKPOLL WARBLER that was heard along Tower Rd. The unmistakable high-pitched "tsit" series of notes surprised me this early in the month. This isn't the earliest record for the state, but most likely is for the mountain region. Typically Blackpolls don't show up for another 2-3 weeks on this end of the state. My earliest date was April 14, 2011 at Dobbins Mountain in Bartow County and that same year they were recorded at Kennesaw Mountain(Piedmont) by 4/16. The Annotated Checklist of GA has a printed date of April 17 for the mountain region. April 1st is listed as the early date for the Piedmont.
We also saw a Brown Elfin along the powerline swath on the southwestern portion of the park. As I was preparing to photograph it.......it took off.