I spent most of the morning deep in the woods, waiting for the sun to get high enough to warm the little valley where I was waiting in hopes of reconnecting with some old, familiar friends. Each spring and through the summer until late July, this east valley on the farm we call Indigo Hill is home to a handful of very special warblers. And on this chilly spring morning many of my old friends were singing, already setting up their territories. Many of the female warblers have not yet arrived, so the males are especially het-up.
One of the things I love about these woods is that the trees come with cupholders.
Into the woods I went hauling spotting scope, digital camera, and my cup of morning coffee. Halfway down the spring trail a male hooded warbler chipped loudly as he flew past me. And a male yellow-throated warbler zipped past, also chipping. Far down in the bottom, where the spring feeds the small creek, the worm-eating warbler (a new arrival today) sent out his insectlike buzz. Also joining the chorus were black-and-white and blue-winged warblers, wood thrushes, and our resident birds, including five woodpecker species.
From east of the trail a Kentucky warbler sang his rolling, bright trill. I spent the next hour navigating the thick underbrush, looking for him. Kentuckies are loud, persistent singers, but they can be devilishly hard to see. Sometimes it seems as though they are throwing their voices like a ventriloquist. Finally I found him and got him in the scope. Great looks, but no chance to digiscope him.
I'm not sure why I love the Kentucky warbler so much. Perhaps because they stick to the deepest, brambly woods. Or maybe it's their Fu Manchu facial markings. Now that I know where one of his morning song perches is, I'll be back to spend more quality time with this particular old friend.