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Birdwalk Highlights for 5/20: Hedgehog Mountain Park, Freeport.

Well, that SCARLET TANAGER was worth the price of admission! After hearing it for most of the walk, we had a crippling view of it as it came into the mid-story to sing and forage. It even nicely crossed the road to show off in better light for us, before returning to the highest oaks.

We had great views of a pair of HERMIT THRUSHES foraging on the ground and mate-guarding. But the last WOOD THRUSH on territory here just refused to come into view, even as we circled it on the trails. Later, we heard a couple of counter-singing Hermit Thrushes to add to this morning's concert.

RED-EYED VIREOS (11+) were vocal as expected, with one pair well-seen for a change. One of the two BLUE-HEADED VIREOS also came into view for us. In the same area, we heard and glimpsed a BLACK-THROATED BLUE WARBLER while eventually seeing one or two of the morning's 7 BLACK-THROATED GREEN WARBLERS quite well.

We had a good look at a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER, and earlier, glimpses of and AMERICAN REDSTART. Two MAGNOLIA WARBLERS, 3 PINE WARBLERS, and 6 OVENBIRDS were heard, but only one of the Ovenbirds was seen.

Overall, it was shockingly slow. The Magnolias were the only likely passage migrant, other than a BOBOLINK flying high overhead. I was perplexed as to why there were not more birds in feeding in the oak trees this morning...was the burst of budworms already past?

Both PILEATED and RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS were heard and a DOWNY WOODPECKER was doing some housekeeping on her cavity. Meanwhile, for the 3rd birdwalk in a row, we found a pair of BLACK-CAPPED CHICKADEES excavating a cavity in a rotting snag - this one only a couple of feet off the ground. Now I feel like we have to keep this new streak alive!