Today, after dropping Rick and Matty off at the rink, I hightailed it over to the preserve. The clouds above were dark and threatening, but I knew I could get a little birding in before the heavens let loose. I had about 35 minutes before the game would begin (and I could always be a little late...there are three periods after all). As soon as I pulled into the parking lot I could hear two Eastern Towhees singing back and forth in the trees to the left of the gazebo. What a beautiful call. With one of the most memorable mnemonics, the Eastern Towhee's "Drink your tea....." song always makes me happy. I spotted the orange, black and white high in the tree and listened for a while, eventually moving on to the path north of the gazebo that leads to the meadow. I was hoping to find Indigo Buntings at the forest opening, and they were everywhere.
A male Indigo Bunting was singing near the forest's edge. He would fly out into the meadow and sing, only to return to his perch high in the tree.
Can you tell this is a different male in a different spot. He is smoother and farther along in his molt. He was chipping back and forth with his mate, flying from branch to branch.
...here is his sweet little mate. I first heard her chipping in the brush and found her in a small snag near where the tree limb hangs low over the trail at the meadow's edge as it re-enters the forest. Even though she lacks the brilliant blue of the male, she is so pretty, and I love her gorgeous eyes.
...the same little female flies up into the dead tree rimming the edge of the trail. Both birds would meet up and follow each other from branch to branch, constantly chipping to each other.
...yet another male Indigo Bunting. He was near the beginning of the meadow, in the area where all the saplings are growing. At one point there were four males hollering out their song in trees at the four corners of the meadow. It was wonderful to hear.
As I was leaving the meadow, a flock of 14 Cedar Waxwings, singing and squeaking overhead, flew into a large Mulberry tree and started to devour the berries. The mulberries weren't even ripe yet, but the waxwings didn't seem to mind.
I love the metallic squeaking and constant motion of a flock of Cedar Waxwings as they move through a tree eating the berries. The two birds on the left were feeding each other berries, never sitting still...
Kelley Nature Preserve is a small woodland of only 42 acres, but it hugs the Little Miami River (now you know why I love it) and is very close to the Indian Hill greenbelt. Surrounded by trees, it seems to be a magnet for migrating warblers. Every time I go there I spot something cool. I've seen more Ovenbirds there than anywhere else (I love that little orange stripe on their heads)...and Magnolia Warblers too... Raindrops started to fall, so I headed out. I think I got about 40 minutes of birding in. I'll take it!