Helen Manson Andrews
Editor's Note: This is an old article written by Helen
Andrews for the Millbrook Roundtable. We hope you will
enjoy it and get a few tips from her many articles she
wrote over the years.
As we stood by the little stream that flowed through the swamp, it seemed
so quiet. Then a few Chickadees worked through the trees. Where there
are Chickadees, there are often other birds. A few shushing sounds
brought in the Catbirds.
Then there, on the branch just a few feet away, was an Ovenbird.
He had slipped in unnoticed; his rusty head feathers stood
up like a tiny crest and he moved quickly about the branch.
Then there was a flash of yellow and in flew a beautiful
Magnolia Warbler, bright yellow breast and bright wingbars
on black wings and flashing tail spots. After a little more
shushing, another yellow bird appeared, this time a Wilson's
Warbler with bright yellow underparts, darker back and a
faint black cap.
Another popped up, also with lots of yellow. It was a Blue-winged
Warbler with whitish wingbars and a black line through the
eye. We stood quietly for a while longer, but the show was
over. The birds had moved on.
The Phoebes take on a yellowish wash over their gray bellies,
and can be found sitting on fences or in the top of a dead
tree, and will fly out to catch an insect.
The smaller flycatchers are very hard to tell apart, as
they look very much alike. Now they are calling, which is
sometimes the only way you can tell if it's a Least Flycatcher
or Willow or Alder or Acadian.
The big boy of the family is the Olive-sided. They are a
little larger than the Phoebe, with a longer head and a shorter
tail. The throat, center of the breast and the belly are
dull white, and the olive sides give the appearance of an
open vest. Watch for them as they sit on the top of a tree,
where they fly out and catch insects in the air.
Over Dutchess, May