Date: 5/2/17 7:58 pm
From: Herschel Raney <herschel.raney...>
Subject: This morning
Walked out the front door at 6:30 AM as usual for this past few weeks.
And immediately said, “oh my.” No wind. Birds were moving in all my
compass directions and sudden song from several Warbling Vireos, and an
array of Chestnut-sideds, Nashvilles, Tennessees. I think every large
tree had these three species in it. The first bird I lifted my
binoculars for however was a Bay-breasted Warbler and I saw several more
moving with all the other warblers. There was a quick half call of an
Ovenbird. I hear them only a few days each year in spring here. Two
called in the hour I walked around.

I can sample the same trees and woods each morning because I live under
them, so I know who is new and who is moving through. I think the birds
strike the slopes to my south where we are the first lifts of trees when
coming across the valley from Little Rock. And then they work across my
humble mountain top.

So many Philadelphia Vireos I quit trying. Sometimes three or four of
them chasing each other and calling along with the Warbling and
Yellow-throated and Red-eyed Vireos. I think I broke my record of 25 for
sure in one morning.

Grosbeaks barking and the orioles were whistling and doing full song
this time. Orioles appeared up in the sweetgum tops. Moving northward
generally. Also one male Grosbeak finally sang the full song for me and
showed his red and black dressings.

Blackburnian males and females. The first Redstarts: all males.
Magnolias singing and feeding. Three more Golden-wingeds, all quiet but
active. And over by my driveway where the Ovenbird sang and sang three
Blue-winged Warblers started up. They sang the two note buzz for me. One
coming down to show me the thrown back head, the golden colors.

A crew of Pewees arrived last night for sure because until today I had
heard none. At least four were calling and flycatching above me.

A dazzling number of Black-throated Greens which apparently just keep
coming in waves every few days. More Cuckoos. More Great Crested
Flycatchers. The mix of song made me laugh. Blue-winged Warblers make me

And then I suddenly remembered I had to run over to the mailbox and drop
of the garbage can for the day. I drove the truck over and jumped out
just in time to hear inside the wet flooded flat behind my mailbox, the
call of the Northern Waterthrush. Land/Yard bird number 151. And one I
had been wishing for with all the wetness this week. If it had not been
garbage day I would have missed him.

Very hard to take myself off to work. My wife came out ready to go and I
was still in my tee shirt. Birds were still moving as I drove off.
Seventeen warbler species in one hour. And in the afternoon when I
returned: quiet and then a few Cardinals and Gnatcatchers. The warblers
all pulled off towards the northwest. But for an hour it was songster
heaven. And I lost myself in it.

Herschel Raney

Conway AR

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