Saturday, July 25, 2009

A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher visits our backyard!

Yeah!! It's another new yard bird. Yesterday evening at about 6:00 p.m. Rick and I were sitting on the deck when Matty shouted up, "Mom, a Blue-gray bird!" I grabbed the binocs and sure enough, we had a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher in our backyard!!

With such a sweet little mug, I think this guy might
have been a juvenile. Males in spring and summer
have black eyebrows, so it could have been
a female, but the feathers seem new.
(More "record" shots. He was too far away for detail.)

We've lived here for ten years and have never seen one of these cute, nervous, fidgety little birds in any of our trees. Blue-gray Gnatcatchers prefer mature woodlands, often damp, which explains why the Little Miami Bike Trail is such a haven for them. In the early spring, they are often the first migrant I see on the Little Miami Bike Trail, and the trees lining the pavement are often dripping with them when they start moving in. I love listening to their bossy little calls echoing down the trail. This year I caught a pair building a nest--and a very sweet nest it was, cup-like and small, it was covered in lichens and resembled a Ruby-throated Hummingbird's nest.

Here he is flitting around in the wild cherry tree, gleaning
insects, but mostly jumping out for a gnat smorgasbord.

He certainly has attitude and you can see it in his little
postures. When I see them flitting through the trees
on the trail, they behave exactly the same...

Blue-gray Gnatcatchers will also come to mature shade trees in neighborhoods. Maybe after ten years, our Big Ash Tree is finally big enough to satisfy a gnatcatcher. I hope so. I haven't seen him since, but who knows! That evening a huge swarm of gnats had emerged and Little Blue was busy living up to his name.

I'm gonna get that gnat. I have wings,
and I know how to use them...now!

21 comments:

Tammie Lee said...

sweet little mug indeed.
wonderful shot of it flying!

holdingmoments said...

Great addition to the garden list Kelly. Love that flight shot at the end :)
Lets hope he returns soon.

Elaine said...

He does look like he has an attitude. Such a cute little guy. I like the flight shot--looks like he's really got his wheels spinning.

Midmarsh John said...

Great photos of your latest visitor Kelly. It is a lovely looking bird and if your gnats are a bothersome as ours it will be very welcome.

Sue said...

He does look kinda "fuzzy" (feathers, not the pic!). Must be a young one. I'm so glad you finally got one in your yard!

♥ Kathy♥ said...

Kelly what great pictures. LOL I don't think I could have captured that last shot with him flying off. Those little birds like that are so cute.

Jayne said...

He's wonderful Kelly! I've only seen ONE around here too. Great captures!

Steve B said...

I'm glad that you have these on you list this year.

Hilke Breder said...

Great pictures, Kelly. Quite a feat to catch the action like that!

Uncommon Depth said...

Hope my comments work today!

What a sweet little bird, and great series of images. Your photos are always so inspiring.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Oh Kel, He is gorgeous. I wish you lived closer because I'm sure we have more varieties of back-yard birds around us. I just don't know birds that well YET... BUT--I'm learning.

Hope you have a wonderful Sunday.
Hugs,
Betsy

oldcrow61 said...

What a sweet bird. Lovely photos. The swallowtail in the previous blog is just gorgeous.

Nature As Is said...

Lovely pictures and what a find in your own backyard. Nice and wow I have noticed that you have 112 followers. Someone is busy now answering comments good for you Kelly. There are alot of people out there who love birds and your blog is definately the place to come :) Sipping coffee in bed right now getting ready for my morning hike. Have a good one.

Abe Lincoln said...

I wonder sometimes how many different birds I missed who came here and then flew on. It must be a record number. You seem to have a better selection than I do. This year is a bummer for birds and insects. We have yet to see any butterflys except cabbage whites. And none of the birds from last summer are back.
Pick a Peck of Pixels

Steve said...

You are lucky to get these 'exotic' birds in your yard. Great flight shot Kelly.

Heather said...

What a cutie, and I would say you're right about it being a juvie. It just has that "baby face" about it. Glad it came to visit your yard!

Warren Baker said...

Well done Kelly. I know that ''New species'' feeling well, it sets you up for the week!

JKoenig said...

How great to get a picture of such a little guy in flight. It is extra nice when they ones you haven't seen before come right to your backyard.

The Early Birder said...

Nice welcome addition to your 'yard' list Kelly. FAB

Dave Lewis said...

Yeah! A new yard bird is always a good thing. In the last photo, I think he was coming after you!

Mary said...

What a cute little bird. Now that I have seen your photos, I know for sure that is what I saw a couple months ago. It was sitting the same way, same profile. I've never had one come to my house, however.