Excerpts from Jim Conrad's
Naturalist Newsletter

from the September 14, 2007 Newsletter issued from Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve, QUERÉTARO, MÉXICO

During the winter dry season the most common bird species out in the scrub is definitely the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher. Sometimes so many buzzy TZEEEER sounds come from around you that it's funny.

Gnatcatchers have been absent here the last few months. That's kind of surprising because the distribution map in my "Howell's" -- as birders refer to the two-inch-thick tome that's the last word on Mexican birds -- shows the species as a permanent resident here. Plus the similar Black-tailed Gnatcatcher also is a permanent resident. Still, I haven't seen a single one of either species all "summer."

In all but the cooler parts of North America Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are common though many birders who just watch species in their backyards may not know them. Gnatcatchers like treetops, plus they have small, slender beaks for catching insects, so they don't find birdfeeders holding seeds so attractive. You can see nice pictures of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers at http://www.1000birds.com/latest20050502BGG.htm.

Despite their being so abundant here, it's always a pleasure hearing their buzzes among the Sweet Acacias, and seeing their long tails flitting through the trees' frilly, diffuse leaves.