Tuesday, August 30, 2016
The European Starling at the upper right is molting from breeding to nonbreeding plumage. The starling still has the completely dark head of breeding plumage, but its bill is dark and it has the numerous white dots of nonbreeding plumage. The starling on the lower left looks like it has completely molted into nonbreeding plumage. August-September is generally when this molting takes place.
The first two photos show a Spotted Sandpiper in breeding plumage. In the second photo the sandpiper is about to take off in flight. In both photos you can see the bold dark spots underneath of the breeding plumage. The last two photos show a Spotted Sandpiper in nonbreeding plumage. August is generally when the Spotted Sandpiper molts from breeding (summer) to nonbreeding plumage (winter).
Monday, August 29, 2016
Sunday, August 28, 2016
As part of the birding walk we visited the banding station at the park. While we were there they captured in their mist nets and banded a juvenile Red-eyed Vireo. The juvenile has brown eyes, not the red eyes of the adult.
These two different pairs of male and female damselflies are in the Pond Damselfly family. In both pairs the damselfly towards the top of the photos is the male and the one towards the bottom is the female.
In the first two photos you can see the courtship ritual of the damselfles. Physical contact is made by the male clasping the female's thorax with its four terminal appendages at the end of the abdoman.
In the third photo copulation is taking place. The mating pair form a shape known as a "heart" or "wheel". It is a continuation of the courtship of the pair from the second photo. The female whose thorax is being held by the male's terminal appendages, curls her abdomen to pick up sperm from the secondary genetalia at the base of the male's abdomen, forming the shape which looks like a heart.