Date: 5/20/19 9:22 am
From: Daniel Mason <millipede1977...>
Subject: stop, look, listen...
I thought I'd have a unique story about a small, sad(not literally),
bird in my yard this morning. Joe Neal beat me to it.
I heard a mourning warbler on the big day a couple weeks back. Yesterday
my kids and I went exploring part of the ozark national forest(wedington
WMA), the road that goes down and dead ends where NWAAS used to have the
woodcock field trip. That road has had some major work to it(side
note/update here). There are a few hills they put in, purposely it seems
for drainage or to keep people driving slow?, where we scraped the
bottom of our van just a little on the way out. Not bad. Other than
that, 90%(ish) of that road has been cleaned up... gravel put in and
pressed with a steam roller. Trees and brush cleared way back from the
sides. Drainage ditches with big rocks put in everywhere. I'm not sure
if this is just to maintain it for drive-ability for people going to
explore(or hunt) wildlife or if they have other plans out there. We had
a decent drive down the road with a *kentucky warbler* singing, a
*scarlet tanager*, and a *yellow-breasted chat* being some of the
highlights for us. I think the road would have been even better a week
or so ago but who knows. It's a fun place to explore.
When we left and got back onto the main road that leads into that one,
there's an old bridge on the left(another decent birding place you can
access by way of 412 turning at the fireworks place) and a big cliff
opposite. Just east of that cliff is some dense woods with water. We
heard a mourning warbler out there but, of course, never got a glimpse
of it.

Today, I was hearing some weird calls that I really can't explain well.
The sound(not the pattern or anything) reminded me of a henslow's
sparrow... but it was four notes(if you call them notes)... two going
up-ish, two going down... We've had two pairs of house finches in the
yard lately and I'm feeling it could be them. But I kept hearing the
same pattern over and over a few times and never did get to see the bird
making the noise.
That leads into me calling my daughter to come listen. At which point,
that sound stops. (that's how it works right?)  So I told her she should
just sit by that window and do her schoolwork there. She said that if
she sat there it might dissuade any birds from hanging around. (in
different words though)  Then her jaw dropped a bit as she told me there
was a *mourning warbler* RIGHT outside the house. She was listing the
features out loud... "no eye-ring....."  So I snuck over and of course
the bird had dropped. Moments later it popped up where I could see it
for a moment.  A while later I did playback once or twice. Nothing.  We
went outside and looked around a bit. On the way back to the house she
saw it again in another location. It dropped down(so she says) and I
never saw it. We watched and waited and, whatever was there vanished...
managed to elude us as they sometimes seem quite good at doing. The
whole time the bird was in our yard it never made a single sound. It
could be out there right now and I wouldn't know it.  (REALLY wanted to
get a picture)

I keep thinking migration is over and I need to start planning on what I
want to find in the fall. Still lots to see though. :) Blue jays and
wrens carrying nesting material today. Lots going on. Heard some more
calls, some squeals of some sort that I couldn't describe... that
sounded like they were 10 feet in front of me at the side of my house.
Never found what it was.  Also heard a high pitched whistle that sounded
like a gray-cheeked thrush but I really couldn't be certain.

Stop, look, and listen. Sometimes when you're looking for one thing, you
find another. :)  Now to go look at pictures of some empids from
yesterday...

Daniel Mason



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