A forest in mid-July is different than a forest in June, and High Point State Park, NJ was no exception this past weekend. Oh, the birds were all still there, and busy. . . but quiet, with much less song than June, making it necessary to really pay attention to flight and call notes, and the begging calls of young wanting to be fed, and any slight movements in the trees. Any less of an effort and you would never have known how rich these woods are for birds.
Many of the birds we encountered were in obvious molt, with loose or missing feathers, and sometimes new feathers growing in were apparent, though these things are not easy to see except with birds in the hand. Many birds fed young, too - around our campsite the yellowthroats and redstarts were particularly busy carrying food, while the local Veeries were happily the most vocal birds in the area, suggesting perhaps these were involved in second nestings. It's worth a trip to High Point (a solid 4.5 hours north of Cape May) just to hear Veeries sing.
At Kuser Bog in High Point, it seemed overall very quiet, until we suddenly bumped into a mixed-species flock containing Black-throated Blue Warbler, American Redstarts, Northern Waterthrush, Northern Orioles, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and several others. All of these were local breeders, but clearly were done with nesting for the year and had flocked up in a mixed-species foraging flock, which is exactly what birds do between the end of nesting and the start of migration.
[This male Canada Warbler in Kuser Bog chipped continuously and at one point was carrying food. The agitation and food-carrying are obvious signs of nearby young.]