Friday, June 26, 2020

Flicker porn

from earlier this spring.

I suppose a person could ask, "Why???"  And you wouldn't be wrong.  However, being the Glass Half-FUll kind of guy that I am, I'd prefer to ask, "Why not?"

What do you want to bet the babies are fledged by now?

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Kentucky Warbler

A Kentucky Warbler was discovered sometime in the last week at Love Creek.  Some people have been reporting Black-billed Cuckoo there too and I went to see if I could track one down.  I heard a bunch of Yellow-billed's, but no Black-billed.  At one point a Mourning Warbler - like song started up; I'd managed to forget about the Kentucky and it took a second for the song to click.

The bird teed up on a snag, not at all what I was expecting, and sang away.

The slight burriness of the song turns out to come from the bird actually doubling the second syllable of the Tory phrase.  The notes are too closely spaced for us to recognize them as separate, and leads to a bit of an internal echo. 
When I looked a sonos of Mourning Warbler (one of its closest relations), it turns out they do the same thing, just with 3 notes in the second syllable of the Chirry phrase).  I should probably get an account somewhere to actually link the sound file; maybe later.

Sunday, June 14, 2020

best Least Bittern pics ever

I've walked or biked a little over 100 miles in the last 3 weeks looking for Blue Grosbeak.  No luck.  Today was a golf course survey and I walked a little over 3 miles.  I've noticed that people chasing the Bell's Vireo have sporadically been reporting Least Bittern.  It was looking like the highlight of the walk would be some combo of Willow Flycatchers or the Green Herons that were just everywhere, but a different climax was in store.  I was expecting this bird to be just another Green Heron, but something was a little off...

A Least Bittern was standing gob smack in the open in bright early morning light.

The breast patterning was very interesting, and I don't know that the pic does it justice.  The suffuse brown breast streaks were highlighted by some dark brown central feather shafts in a pattern that I don't think I've really encountered before.

Sadly I think my hair is looking a lot like the bittern's in this next pic.  Hopefully barbershops re-open soon...

One last look at the beautifully backlit bill...

Monday, June 8, 2020

Seek and ye shall find ...

something.  Maybe not what you were looking for, but definitely something.

According to eBird I've walked close to 8 miles in Chikaming this month as a few people have reported Black-billed Cuckoo there.  I've only heard Yellow-billed to date, but did see a beaver out of the water for the first time ever.

A doe posed nicely.  I think I saw a fawn duck down just as I came around the corner and the doe only moved 20 feet away so I snapped 2 pics and kept walking.

I was also keeping my ears open for Blue Grosbeak (stop me when you sense the theme to this summer's birding), but chestnut-sided, prothon, and blue-winged warblers were the most interesting breeders.  One of the resident Barred Owls swooped up on one of my loops.

Finally a pic of a Giant Swallowtail from today in Warren Dunes...

Friday, June 5, 2020


Still no Blue Grosbeak, but the bike survey turned up about 25 dickcissels at a couple south county locations (sadly no Henslow's this morning either, and at least one of their fields has been mowed).

But the Dickcissels were singing away.


...ciss ciss ciss!

There were a lot around

Some are very much still learning the song, there was a lot of variability today.  There were a couple singing very much in the young White-throated Sparrow scratchy vein.

But they tend to homogenize over the course of the summer, whether young males are parroting the brightest local males the way Indigo Buntings do, or if just based on what the females respond to I don't know...

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Grande Mere Wormer

May is done, but that doesn't mean the birding is over!

I've been biking a decent amount lately, hoping to blunder into Blue Grosbeak.  No luck so far, but the season is young.  Today I walked Grande Mere covering about 4 miles of trails in a long loop.  Best bird was a Worm-eating Warbler singing away in the SW corner of the park.

Otherwise it was mostly the locals, dominated by pewees and vireos.  The flowers had turned the page from the spring ephemerals to summer as well.  Chicory was always the plant I associated with early summer when I was a kid, but here it'd more be Spiderwort.

Lupine was blooming nicely in a few places

And Columbines are hanging around still, though they start with the warbler peak.