I am Bird.
I Sing from above in the River of Time
I fly swiftly, watching all in the Forest
I hide in the branches and leaves
I may leave the Forest in Fall, but return again each Spring
I make the Forest dance.
When we drove into the parking lot at the lodge, we were greeted by our old friend, the Red-eyed Vireo, calling, "Here I am, where are you?" Ah, this is going to be a good birding weekend.
The air conditioners in the lodge at Natural Bridge State Park hadn't been turned on yet, so we all slept with the door cracked open a bit. About 5:00 am, the Dawn Chorus awakened us to a more pleasant alarm than usual. The chorus continued all day, whether we were around the lodge, or hiking up a trail.A friend asked, "What's that little brown bird we see?" "Tail cocked up and sings REALLY loud? That's a Carolina Wren." Sure enough, the loudest bird on any branch ended up being the Carolina Wren. You wouldn't expect something that small could make so much noise. I am familiar with the songs our local Wrens sing, but these mountain birds came up with a few more I hadn't heard before. When you throw your head back, you can sing louder, they say.
On our first trail in the Red River Gorge, we heard birds singing non-stop along a rippling brook. It was very pleasant, but frustrating too. We would recognize a mnemonic of a song we heard on the CD, but could not place it with a bird. The first bird we actually saw on this trail was back at the parking lot, and it was a Louisiana Waterthrush, our first warbler. The field guide does not list the mnemonics used on the Peterson CD. "Weesa, weesa, weesa" said one invisible bird in the treetops, while another answered, "A-weet, a-weet, a-weet-teo." Our friends thought we were nuts. From now on, I carry the Peterson booklet that came with the CD - Birding by Ear. It does have an index in the back based on the song. Eventually we overcame a bad case of Warbler-neck (a common birder's ailment in the spring) and found the black and yellow Hooded Warbler singing A-weet, a-weet, a-weet-teo, and the Black and White Warbler who serenaded with Weesa, weesa, weesa, or the Squeaky Wagon song. No pictures, of course. The both move too fast among the branches for photography. I did get a picture of the Northern Parula, though, but the Waterthrush came out a little too fuzzy to post here. I've always said that when I can find and identify Warblers with ease, I will truly be a birding expert.