Sunday, May 27, 2018

BT Blue photo-shoot

Mike Mahler found a Connecticut at Sarett last week.  I chased it, but missed it by about 15 minutes according to Rick Brigham who had heard it not long after he arrived.

There was a Black-throated Blue being fairly cooperative though.

There was a female about as well, but I was slower to lock up the focus on her and was a little disappointed with those images.

Maybe the last warbler pic of the spring?

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Scarlet Tanager specimen

I was driving home from birding a couple mornings ago when a bright pip of scarlet caught my eyes along the side of the road.  What's a birder to do when they come across a specimen like that?  Well, if you're like me you make a U turn and stop on a bridge to pick it up.  In front of a cop no less.  He slowed and kept driving.

It hadn't been dead long and was still incredibly fresh.  The head and back was incredibly intensely red.

I've never been close enough to one to notice the very faint edge of green along the flight feathers (two of the median coverts are edged in red).  I think the red feather coming through is a lesser covert that grew in red instead of black

A zoom in on the notched edge of a tanager bill.

Some of the coloration of the flank was neon yellow rather than red.  I'm not sure if that's a sign it's a first spring bird or if this is pretty common but usually hidden.
Hopefully the next post will be of a very live blue bird rather than a dead red one.

Sunday, May 20, 2018


Another year, another Birdathon.  I struggled with not enough sleep, but we had a good day overall.  Some birds a person has luck with, others a person doesn't.  I've had no luck with Kentucky this spring.  A lot of people have had it or them or (cough, cough, yellowthroats, just kidding) along Floral.  One was seen again yesterday a couple minutes before we came to the boardwalk.  We stood there for nearly 30 minutes; we didn't get it.  Least Bittern is always a hard bird.  Both my teammates heard it call once.  I didn't. (Fortunately it was when we went back this morning).  But a nemesis in the positive was this Whip-poor-will.  I'd honestly never seen one before, and despite having a couple (usually) reliable spots, they weren't singing in the nighttime rain.

Worm-eating Warbler can also be a hard bird.  Birdathon was a pretty late date this year allowing us to pin this one down to a territory a few days prior.

almost a mirror image Prothon from Brown

On the other end of the color scale, a female redstart at Tiscornia
We had Yellow-bellied Flycatcher a few places, this one was also at Tiscornia
Coupled with an Olive-sided, we did well on flycatchers (and had 28 warblers in addition).

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

chocolate-morph Ring-billed

Caleb put a photo of a Ring-billed Gull with all dark wings on the Facebook Gull page.  I happened into a pretty similar looking bird at Tiscornia this afternoon. 

Gulls are massing between the piers feeding on small fish; I assume steelhead heading out into the lake, but that's just a guess.  It's a great time of year to pick up Laughing or Franklins, and we have a few California Gull records for May (to say nothing of the Glaucous-winged) so this bird drew my eye.  Here's a montage of the individual at medium distance:

It circled around and flew past a couple times.
There's only a few gray feathers in the entire upperwing, and I'm not sure those aren't new feathers growing in.

A view of the underside:
It actually has a bit of a belly patch.

I know there's pics of Little Gulls like this in the books, but I'm not sure I've seen this variant illustrated for Ring-billed.

more warbs

It's spring. Spring is for warblers.  After the Brewster's Warbler a few days ago I've been tracking down the various winged warblers I hear at Floral.  Of course Golden-winged is one of my favorites anyway, so it's a payoff either way.

The birds are starting to be more dominated by the mid-migration birds.

But there's still a lot of the early passage birds about too.

If only this Swainson's was continuing the warbler theme.

Friday, May 4, 2018

Brewster's Warbler

After finding Yellow-rumped and Palm Warblers just teeming at some of the lakeside parks there was hope that Floral would be hopping ... not so much.  Birds were coming in ones and twos when I noticed another birder (Ken Bishop) looking with interest at the LCD on his camera.  He saw me and walked up with an intensely curious expression on his face and purpose in his stride.  I was quite intrigued to see what would be on the LCD ... a Brewster's Warbler.  Having never seen one I was most definitely excited.  It was re-found about a minute later.

From above it looked pretty identical to a Golden-winged and would be easy to overlook if you didn't see the face.

The Blue-winged pattern comes out while looking up at it. 

I doubt there's many Brewster's flight shots out there.

Surprisingly I've seen 3 or 4 Lawrence's (most recently last year at Chikaming), the F2 backcross between Brewster's and one of the parents, but never the F1 hybrid.

More warblers, these ones from earlier at Lincoln Twp Beach.

I went back to Floral in the afternoon, there were a ton of silent Ovenbirds.

It's been a really good spring for Orange-crowned, this one was from Tiscornia.

Finally a couple shots of spring migrants with the Marsh Marigolds that are currently in peak bloom.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

May 1 is Catbird Day

You can literally set your calendar by catbirds returning to Floral on May 1.  Having done a number of April 30 big days over the years I can tell you it's a tough, tough bird April 30.  You have to beat them off with sticks May 1.  Even with a cold spring it was no different today.

A Sedge Wren at the end of the cul-de-sac yesterday was a little more interesting though.

Winter Wrens are still around.

But May is for warblers right?  Orange-crowned has been fairly prominent this year.
Jan pointed this one out to Tim and me at Galien Twp park.