Summertime birding can be a challenge. Small song birds prefer the safety of thick hedgerows, cedars and hawthorn trees and finding them turns into an exercise of extreme patience. Some birds prefer swampy habitats where mosquitoes breed and walking is treacherous or impossible. Treetop birds bring on a stiff neck from excessive upward gazing. But most birds do sing or squawk or chirp and recognizing their unique sound is the key to positive identification.
The road to the camp was about 2 kilometers long and each little section had its own bird groups. We stayed in the Warbler woods.
Up the road toward the big swamp was Woodpecker way where the Downies, Flickers and Sapsuckers hammered on dead wood. I didn't know the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker made a cat-like noise? But it is different from the Grey Catbird's meowing call.
The cedar trees near the swamp were home to a variety of Thrushes. I was drawn here daily to listen to the haunting song of the Veery. The complex song was the most beautiful I have ever heard. (listen to their songs here)
Going the other direction led to the field of the Bobolinks. These hyperactive birds had a wild raspy song that went on and on like a long jamming session. The males perched on the hydro wires and on tree tops while the females in their modest plumage stayed quietly in the bushes.
I recorded sounds of birds I could not see with my camera in hopes of learning their songs. Here is a compilation of some of them. The visual quality is not great and my hand held efforts, along with the wind and grey skies may make you queasy as you watch. If so, just close your eyes and listen. What do you hear?
Postscript ~ I posted the video link on our local birding forum and one of our local experienced birders added this analysis of the bird song...
"... aside from those you already mention in your post, I hear: House Wren (really singing up a storm in the early part), Black-billed Cuckoo (in the background of the House Wren; cu-cu, cu-cu-cu, cu-cu, etc.), Yellow Warbler (underneath the wren - there's a Redstart singing in the background too, makes it a bit confusing), American Crow, Eastern Towhee (these are in the same segment, way in the background) Gray Catbird (mewing a bunch toward the middle), Song Sparrow (in behind the Catbird), Rose-breasted Grosbeak (during the shot of the trees after the bit showing the House Wren), and Chipping Sparrow (singing under the yellowthroat).
There's also an interesting call at the end, underlying the Common Yellowthroat - a single, long, hollow sort of note, which is another Veery vocalization. (I think it may be a warning call of some kind - they seem to make it whenever they spot me, anyway).
"Sounds" like it was a very good area to visit, anyway - very diverse!"