Saturday, January 24, 2009

Often Heard But Rarely Seen

The picture is of a California gnatcatcher, taken by peeking from behind a curtain with the aid of a zoom lens. This elusive creature, a member of the wren family, lives hereabouts and stops by almost daily to feast on insects in the leaves of the arbor. Gnatcatchers are considered a threatened species and their loss of habitat and status as a cause celebre have complicated life for property owners and people in the building trades.

This one in particular doesn't seem to have a care in the world. He flits from perch to perch and makes himself known by his distinctive chirp, likened by some to the mew of a kitten. Oddly, every time he chirps, his tail elevates. He's wise to the ways of Thomas the cat and leaves the birdbath to the sparrows. Hopefully, come Spring, he'll bring his family around.


High Desert Diva said...

Awww...glad you got to see him!

Were you able to get some postcards created yesterday to take advantage of the free offer?

lotusgreen said...

hi--actually, i think this is a black phoebe. his song sounds like "phoe-be phoe-be" and he makes that little sound that sounds to you like a cat and to me like a kiss!

if you have water around, you'll see him a lot. they come to my pond quite a bit. (i'm in berkeley)