Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tree Swallows versus Bobolink

It's a regular bobolink party at the Daniel Webster Wildlife Sanctuary in Marshfield--everywhere you look, everywhere you go, a bobolink doing its fluttery flight and singing its zany song. Also, the females have arrived, so things are definitely heating up. (also a gazillion common yellowthroats, but they don't figure in this story...)

Meanwhile, the tree swallows are in breeding mode. Check out what seems to be a bit of ritual feeding action. (She actually did feed him prior to this).

(She's quite a stunner herself, no?)

At any rate, the bobolinks are competing for high places from which to sing. The guy at the top owns the high tension wire. Here he is.

[Interesting aside. At one point a mockingbird flew up to the wire and started singing. The bobolink looked right at him (I swear) and uttered two simple notes twice in a row, as if to say, "you can use this--I've wrapped it neatly in a couplet for you." (I read somewhere, it might have been John Burroughs, that the bobolink's song is the only one the mockingbird can't handle).]

This guy has taken to singing from the top of tree swallow houses. So what do you think will happen?

Indeed. They chased him off of two other boxes. He landed here, oops.

Off he goes. (To make matters worse, in his retreat he landed too close too another male bobolink and some fisticuffs ensued). [Here's the soundtrack. You can hear commotion at the end.]

In the spirit of bobolink-ness, two other weird ones.
First, the collective utterances of purple martins.
Second, some frogs, recorded from one of the sanctuary blinds.

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