Wednesday, March 30, 2016
The first photo is of a male Red-winged Blackbird and the second photo is of a female. The last two photos are of a flock of Red-winged Blackbirds foraging on the ground. They seem to be mostly males.
The male Bufflehead is shown in the first two photos and females in the last photo. The male Bufflehead is vert distinctive - the whole back of the head is white and its flanks and underparts are white. The female has a distinctive oval white patch on the cheek.
During molting from winter white-throated nonbreeding plumage to summer dark-throated breeding plumage of the Horned Grebe it can look very similar to the winter Eared Grebe. This occurs around this time of year in March and April. We can ID this grebe as a Horned Grebe by the white tip on its bill; the Eared Grebe does not have the white tip.
You can see the following taking place in the molting process:
- A patch of red has extended from the red eye to the bill.
- The cheek has turned from white to dark; eventually it will turn black
- The area behind the eye to the back of the head has turned from white to rufous; eventually it will turn yellowish orange.
- The neck is starting to turn rufous.
Monday, March 28, 2016
We can ID this chickadee as a Carolina Chickadee, rather than the very similar Black-capped Chickadee by a combination of its location, size and other characteristics:
- Location: The Carolina Chickadee occurs in southeast U.S. and the Black-capped Chickadee in northern U.S. and much of Canada. There is a narrow band from northern New Jersey to Kansas where they overlap. Cove Lakes State Park is in Southeastern U.S. and is south of this overlap band. Thus, the location would tend to indicate this bird is a Carolina Chickadee.
- Size: When we sighted the chickadee we estimated its size to be 4"+-. The Carolina Chickadee (4.75") is smaller than the Black-capped Chickadee (5.25"). Thus our estimated size is more in line with the size of a Carolina Chickadee.
- The cheek patch of a Carolina Chickakee is grayish (as in thr photo), while the cheek patch of a Black-capped Chickadee is white and more extensive. Again the cheek patch in the photo favors being that of a Carolina Chickadee.
- The Carolina Chickadee appears grayish with not alot of white, as in the photo, rather than the more whitish and brighter with cleaner flanks of the Black-capped Chickadee.
None of the above factors by itself would prove this chickadee is a Carolina Chickadee, but the combination of all these factors and the overall impression of the bird we feel does.
The Carolina Chickadee is a new species to our Life List, which now stands at 279.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
We can ID this bird as a female Brown-headed Cowbird as follows:
- Dull brownish-grey with darker wings and tail and pale throat.
- Stout, conical and pointed finch-like bill.
- Black eyes and legs.
- Faint pale eyestripe.
- Color of bill is dark and sometimes bluish.
- Short tail.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
The first two photos show a pair of Purple Martins; the male is on the left and the female on the right. They are at a Purple Martin house. The third and fourth photos are closeups of male Purple Martins and the fifth and sixth photos are closeups of female Purple Martins. The seventh photo shows a Purple Martin house with six Purple Martins, including one which is about to fly off.
The first two photos are of Laughing Gulls in breeding plumage. They have black hoods, red bills and all black wingtips. The Laughing Gull in the third photo is in nonbreeding plumage. It has black smudges on the head and a black bill.