Both these birds were easily visible, and were singing from trees maybe a couple of hundred feet apart. They did not fly away as I tramped back and forth. This is unusual. Birds, even small birds, seem to be dislike being watched, unless it is the price of admittance at a birdfeeder. At least that is my experience.
Anyway, I think I finally have it now, in my mind. The painted bunting song is weaker and in some way more melodic, and sometimes begins or ends with sharp chip, but this is not reliable. The indigo bunting song is a little louder and has a trill segment--sometimes--that approaches a buzz. Of course a verbal description is helpful only as a mnemonic in the presence of the actual song.
I took along no recording gear, but variants of both songs can be heard here
These recorded songs are a little different from what I actually was hearing, but close enough. The enature.com site is useful for bird songs, by the way, and handier than loading a cd.
The unmistakable invisible sound of yellowbilled cuckoos was all around me. This sound means summer is really here--as if the beads of sweat running down into your eyes is not clue enough. You don't often see the actual cuckoo.
I watched an ash-throated flycatcher catch 3 or 4 insects in the space of a couple of minutes. If it kept it up all day it would become too fat to fly.
My walk was through what looks now like African savannah, but 75 years ago it was farmland, fields of corn and cotton. The savannah look is due to the mesquites, which are secondary to abandoned fields. The original vegetation, before farms, was clumps of trees, hackberries or cedar elms or oaks, surrounded by grassland. Supposedly periodic lightning-caused fires suppressed the growth of a uniform forest.
Since we now do suppress fires, who knows what we will end up with? Maybe, eventually, a forest where once there was mostly grass.
Actually, we may end up with farmland, again, if
It the meantime, it was a lovely summer day. The twist-leaf yuccas are flowering.
Gray doing what he does best