Date: 7/9/17 9:14 am
From: Stephen Johnson via va-bird <va-bird...>
Subject: [Va-bird] question about an odd cuckoo call, Fairfax County

Hello birders,

Today Lynn and I visited Fraser Preserve, in northern Fairfax County (in the Seneca SE block for the breeding bird Atlas). This was our second visit in 7 days, so here are a couple of notes, in taxonomic order.

Mostly I want to ask you all, about a strange cuckoo call. At first I was reluctant to agree it was a Cuckoo, because it went on and on. Dozens or scores of contiguous notes, rather than the 5-10 consecutive notes I'm used to. Finally Lynn did see it fly from tree to tree several times, and we were able to track it, as the singing continued.

Besides the length of consecutive notes, the other odd aspect was that the string of consecutive monotone notes often began, and/or ended with, a lower tone note.

boop - beep - beep - beep - beep - beep .. etc., for maybe 40-50 straight notes; and/or, ending with the lower "boop".

Other than that, it was a typical Yellow-billed Cuckoo tone and pitch. Is this kind of note pattern familiar, to anyone else?

Last week we had two active Acadian Flycatcher nests, a low one with a big cowbird nestling, and the other much higher up, with two tiny (presumably Flycatcher) nestlings. They were near each other, right over the trail, both being fed by adults.

This week the cowbird nest was empty and shredded; and the other nest, much closer to the roof of the canopy, was completely gone. I can only assume that some of the recent heavy weather took out the nests. We still saw and heard several Acadian adults in the area.

This preserve is blessed with several singing Wood Thrushes, and we enjoyed them again this week.

We found an adult Parula singing by the trail, watched for awhile, but saw no others of its kind, and no food gathering behavior.

Finally, we saw and heard Scarlet Tanagers, male and female; but again, no behavior to confirm breeding.

Fraser Preserve is a beautiful patch of woods to visit, whether you confirm breeding or not. Congratulations Jean Tatalias - I saw that you confirmed a couple of species in this same block yesterday - that was a few we didn't have to concentrate on today, so thank you!!

Steve Johnson and Lynn Rafferty
Fairfax, Virginia

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