Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Nest-building Gnatcatchers, Harlequin Darner

[The first Blue-gray Gnatcatchers returned to Cape May County April 3 this year - this pair clearly has been busy. As is the case with many passerines, the male brought nesting material to the female, who arranged it in the nest. The nest is covered with lichens. Beaver Swamp Road, lunchtime today. Click to enlarge.]

Sounds like the Hidden Corners of Belleplain walk today was a great success, and Mike Crewe reports a Black-and-white Warbler at the Northwood Center this afternoon.

While the pictured Blue-gray Gnatcatchers worked on their nest, they gave some chattering notes vaguely reminiscent of a very truncated Worm-eating Warbler's trill, a sound I haven't often heard from them. I'm not sure if it was the male or female making the sound, or both. Birders have to cope with variety in any species' vocalizations, something Mark Garland and I will delve into in our Introduction to Birding by Ear workshop this Saturday - which still has a couple openings.

[I used the great new Field Guide to Dragonflies and Damselflies of New Jersey to identify this small darner as a male Harlequin Darner. It was along Beaver Swamp Road today.]

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