Another sunny, cool morning for our holler walk today, but looks like rain may be back tomorrow afternoon. Lots of daisy fleabane remain...looks like they might be peaking. I noticed small buds forming on many of the blackberry bushes and hawthorns now. And I forgot to mention in previous posts that my neighbors' rhododendron is blooming...many open flowers now.
Daisy fleabane (Erigeron sp.) -- last year's crop. [photo credit: cathie bird]
I've been focusing on birds the past two weeks or so. An unexpected side effect has been discovery of tree species I hadn't noticed before. Today I found what I think might be a river birch (Betula nigra), which is said to be the only native birch species here in the southeast. It's so tall that I'm have a hard time seeing leaf detail. I'm hoping tomorrow that I might locate a younger one so I can get a closer look.
I overloaded on listening to bird calls online the other day, so today, in a song-filled holler, I was having trouble identifying anything by sound. But, I'm pretty sure the chat was there.
Further down Hudson Branch from my observation site, I saw a pair of chipping sparrows feeding along the edge of the grass where it meets the dirt and gravel track of the lane. But the bird bonanza today was at the bridge that crosses Terry Creek at my neighbors end of the lane. Several willows and other small riparian bushes and trees grow near the bridge.
There, I saw the gnatcatcher again, and was able to confirm its identity with a better look at the white feathers on both edges of its tail. I also saw a black-capped chickadee, a male yellow-rumped warbler, and a pair of chestnut-sided warblers (a first for me). There was a flycatcher of some kind doing some amazing bug-catching aerials -- it was more yellowish than many I see around the holler. I'm thinking it might have been an Acadian flycatcher. Also a plain looking female or immature warbler that took off in another direction before I could note any distinguishing markings.
While I was on the bridge, I heard a kingfisher but it never did a flyover. Great spot to pull up a lawnchair and just sit for awhile.