Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Whitesbog 4/4--Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher in the greenbriar
Here's a case where ear-birding is the most satisfying to me: I was walking a back trail at Whitesbog, water on one side, woods on the other, when I heard a distinctive zeet. Aha! Somewhere in this thicket is a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Now all I had to do was find it. A little pishing brought in a couple of Pine Warblers before I was able to locate the little bird high up in a pitch pine. There was no way I was going to get a picture of it. But at least I had it on the list, and right on time.

That section of Whitesbog was in Burlington County. Now the trick was to cross over into Ocean County--the double-laned road at the east end of the Upper Bog for those of you who care--so I walked the roads in Ocean County paying particular attention to the cedars and pines along the way. I came up with lots more Pine Warblers, my first Palm Warbler in a couple of months and a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, which are pretty scarce 'round about here, but no gnatcatchers until I was almost two steps away from the county line when I pished for the hell of it and there, in the greenbriar, appeared the gnatcatcher. With some effort I was able to get decent shot of the bird as it flitted about. The weather was warm and the gnats were out. Interesting how the two coincide.

Reports of warblers are starting to trickle in. I'm going to have to get up and out earlier.

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