Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher

I now know why they call this little guy a Gnatcatcher. I saw him for the very first time, while standing at the entrance to the wooded trail at Gebhard Woods. I go there often, with hopes in seeing different colorful migrating birds. Why? I am not a birder, but am starting to understand why these winged creatures are so addicting.
I have been drawn to nature for a long time now, and most anything can inspire an awe in me, but never have I felt drawn in particular, to birds of the smaller variety, although I have a special place reserved for any owl. Birds have always been easier to shoot than mammals, because they are everywhere, so I take alot of bird shots. I can't always go out and find, say, a raccoon. Thats not the way it works. But, it is why it makes each encounter unique and special. I can probably remember every single occasion with every single raccoon I have ever found. I am always telling stories to friends about this or that, and the memories are always amazing and I am so glad I have them.
I loved finding this teeny tiny bird. It flew in, and flitted around from tiny twig to tiny twig. There were 2 of them, so my chances just increased for attempting a shot. I noticed the white ring around their eyes right away. I then observed their extra long tail. What could this little creature be? I am no birder, so visual I.D. is the only thing I have. I thought, long tail, hmmm....flycatchers have extra long tails, so maybe this lil guy is 1 of those gnatcatchers I have read about, since it is so small? I went home, looked it up and voila...a Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher.
After referencing this bird, I found the size to be a fooler to the eye. The book says it is 4 1/2" long, but that includes their extra long tail, so I would say, body only, the size of an almond in its shell. I loved that I saw one. I loved even more, that I kinda-knew what it was. I think I might be becoming a "Birder", but... without the list. Is that the next step in my addiction? Time will tell...
This guy is a "Gnatcatcher" because of its small size...Gnats instead of flies because of proportion...Cool!

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