A morning walk through a local park today produced a few of nature's gems. Here are a few pics (taken from the web) of some of the birds that were flitting about the trail:
This strikingly colored bird is called a scarlet tanager. There are a number of species of tanagers throughout the country but this is the only one commonly found in the northeast. If you know their song you can find them in almost any fairly large stand of mature deciduous woodlands:
This beauty is a rose-breasted grosbeak. It's found in the same habitat as the scarlet tanager but is less common.
The following picture shows an indigo bunting. They're about the size of a sparrow and are very common around open fields and meadows, but many people miss them because they only show the brilliant blue color when seen in good light.
All the birds shown above are males. The females of each species lack the beautiful coloration of the males and are much plainer.
There's a lot of gorgeous things to see on a simple walk through the woods and fields, but it helps to know the birds' songs and to have a good set of field glasses along if you want to get good looks at them. But even if you don't have field glasses, if you look carefully on the trail, especially where the sun hits it, you might very well see tiger beetles. One common species in the northeast is only about 3/4 of an inch long but is the most breathtakingly emerald green color you'll ever see: