a prothonotary warbler with the goldfinches!! (?!)
Got a wonderful and quite unexpected surprise two days back.
The back yard, which borders the slough and the thickest timber, has been practically humming with daily arrivals of neotropical birds. The indigo buntings have been here for a few weeks, and often there will be a brightly colored herd of indigos and goldfinches scattered on the ground. I was going about my usual routine in the kitchen and paused by the window to check on the bird activity. In May, you never know who's outside in the trees, and with the weather being cool and cloudy lately, it could be a summer/scarlet tanager, any of our 3 kinds of grosbeaks, any variety of warbler, and on and on and on. Things looked normal. A group of indigo buntings, males and females, were scattered about. Also on the ground was a group of about 10 GFs, and I was about to walk away when I noticed something different. I was immediately hissing at my husband to get his butt in there as fast as he could, and to bring the binocs as he came. I was sure it would fly before I got another witness who could later vouch for my sanity. I could not believe my eyes. There was a lone male prothonotary warbler, on the ground no less, right amongst the GFs and he appeared to be very much interested in what they were after in the grass. THe request for the binocs was silly -the bird was so close to the window that they were useless anyway. A less casual glance at an otherwise normal bunch of bobbing yellow blobs and I would have missed him entirely. What an electric orange-yellow head!!What was it doing on the ground with a bunch of seed eaters?? It did seem very curious, and would go from GF to GF, rudely driving each away from their spot and then poking around there for a sec before moving on. This is a first-time sighting for me, a life-lister if you are into birding....I never expected to see one here. We have wetland forest, yes, but it's much more seasonally flooded. I may have it all wrong, but I thought these were birds of the southern cypress swamps and bigger river drainage areas. I know they are found in the Cache River area, far to the south, but that's a true swamp, a totally different biome. We do have tons of snags with tons of cavities...a book mentioned they will nest in downy woodpecker holes and that is probably a top five bird here in numbers. Too much to hope for to think it might be STAYING here and not just on its way through like so many of the warblers.
Sorry, but I am tingling!!!!