Thursday, October 28, 2010

Evening Grosbeak

 My birding activities started early yesterday morning when I went to Kelly's Brook to try to catch a glimpse of the Kentucky Warbler that showed up there early this week. I spent more than two hours in search of the little yellow bird and was about to leave when I noticed that I had lost the lens hood on my camera so I took one last dart in through the wooded trail. While there, two Black-capped Chickadees flew into a tree. A Song Sparrow popped out on a branch. This got my attention. I began watching the activity
and there, big as life, flew the Kentucky Warbler up onto a tree branch. It stayed for about 20 seconds and I got good looks, but I couldn't get a single picture because of all of the leaves and branches between me and my target. It flew off and I saw it very briefly one more time before going. (I also found my lens hood.)

Since I didn't get any pictures of a new bird yesterday, I went in search of the Evening Grosbeak that have been frequenting the feeder of one of the
birders in Goulds. She offered me the opportunity to visit the feeder in hopes that I would see these great birds.

Shortly after I arrived, I spotted the Evening Grosbeaks sitting high atop a tree, several of them. I watched and took some pictures. They flew off, leaving me satisfied that I had seen them and got a few record shots.

Activity at the feeder around the house seemed to be busy with Juncos, Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and Blue jays.
Great entertainment. I stayed to watch them for a while.

It must have been 10 to 15 minutes of activity when I noticed the flock of Evening Grosbeaks moving back into the area. They flew around the tree tops for a while and then a brave group of females decided to chance the feeder, even with me standing about 20 feet away.

Soon the males began to get into the action. In no time, all members of a flock of about 10 Evening Grosbeaks were flying back and forth to the feeder, feeding off the ground and perching on the nearby swing.

What good luck!  Even the sun was over my shoulder providing a great opportunity to capture the moment. This was particularly special because earlier this week I took a walk down a nearby trail in the hopes of seeing these birds. Nothing. The only bird activity I saw on the trail was one Northern Flicker and I flushed a grouse.

 As I review my pictures, I think I can do better. I am thinking about waiting for a sunny day and heading back to the feeder. This time I will take my tripod and see if I can get some really good shots.

The Evening Grosbeak is common to Newfoundland, particularly the Southern Shore. Yet, this is my first time to see them. They are beautifully adorned with brown, yellow and white that flashes in the sunlight.  They are also a gregarious bird and of course, they have a very large beak for which they are named. The Evening Grosbeak belongs to the finch family.

At times there were as many as six birds on the feeder at once. It was nice when this handsome couple showed up at the feeder without all the rest. It provided a great look at the differences between the male and the female. They look like they own this feeder.

Just for fun, I have done some creative work on shots of a male and female Evening Grosbeak in flight. This is how an artist might render these two beautiful birds.

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