Hungry for veery song, I spent the afternoon at Rocky Narrows, my first visit in a couple of years. The field edge right near the lefthand trailhead might be the birdiest spot on the property (bluebird, phoebe, pewee, chipping sparrow, blue-gray gnatcatcher, and the red-eyed vireo below, in the first moments of my walk).
Then I was in the woods, eyes wide open to anything that might be interesting. This sad worn red-spotted purple fluttered down in front of me, too tired to fly away. And over there--carrion beetles were feeding on an old dead toad. While this toad hopped across the path, very much alive.
Wood thrush, scarlet tanager, black-throated green warbler, yes. Veery, no. Then I heard something that I've been hearing a lot in the last couple of weeks--the soft but penetrating voice of a hermit thrush. This time I would track it down and watch it as it sang. Unlike, let's say, a yellow warbler, which rears back its head, opens its beak wide, and pours out its notes, this hermit thrush barely opened its mouth. But you could see the notes generated in its throat as it sang. And occasionally it would fly down and hawk a bug. The red-eyed vireo and the hermit thrush were kind enough to allow me to videotape them. The vireo clip is short and the thrush clip is somewhat longer.
And as I was leaving the woods on my way home, a veery.