A Gnatty Gnest
Walking out the driveway on Sunday morning, Jules and I spied a male blue-gray gnatcatcher, then a female, hovering low on the trunk of a sapling. They were grabbing billfuls of tent caterpillar web to use in their nest building. My guess is that the web is used to hold the nest together, or perhaps to help attach it to the branch, or perhaps to help glue the lichens (used as camouflage) to the nest's exterior.
Being in constant motion, gnatcatchers are difficult to photograph, much less digiscope. But knowing that they would return to this source of building material, I was able to pre-focus on the spot and wait for their return. I managed to get these two images--not great, but they document the behavior.
The nest is on the other side of the driveway, and we look for it each time we walk the kids to the school bus in the morning. As noisy and "scoldy" as gnatties are around their nest, we're sure we'll find it soon.