One of the things I love best about working for the park is my drive to work (va-bird, an email list for reporting Virginia bird sightings. Sometimes I can even be the first to report a species in the Northern Virginia area.
This morning I heard my first common yellowthroat of the year: it sang out “witchety witchety witchety witch” only 50 yards from the main road. That’s the first one reported in the park this year too. Nice way to start my day! Further down the road I also heard the “chick-burr” of a scarlet tanager. They’ve been here for a week or two now. I remember the first scarlet tanager I ever saw: it was singing in the willow oak by the park Visitor Center one afternoon a couple years ago. Beautiful bird!
Anyway, as I continued driving into the park, everywhere red-eyed vireos sang “Where are you? I am here. Right here, look up here!” and Acadian flycatchers made their two-note call that I think sounds like someone drawing an emphatic checkmark on a squeaky whiteboard. Ovenbirds yelled out “teaCHER teaCHER teaCHER” and northern parulas buzzed “zeeee-up!” I wished I could stop and bird more closely than driving permitted, but of course had to get down to the Visitor Center on time. Birding on foot will just have to wait for the weekend. Til then, I’ll be listening from my car.