Monday, September 11, 2017

Rainy Days and Pictures

 With the amazing warm and sunny days of this summer, I swapped out routine maintenance and chores with seizing the day. Who knows when we will see a grand summer like this one again?
 Now, with the onslaught of four back-to-back days of steady rainfall, I am catching up on a lot of things. One of my daily activities has been spending a couple of hours deleting a lot of blurry pictures.
 However, not all of my shots are discards. Some serve to remind me of the few times I got out to bird over the last month. My daughter calls my pictures "loot." She is right. These photos provide for me another layer of enjoyment and the opportunity to revisit my few days spent quietly in the woods.
 I have selected a series of photos to share that depict the variety of species and plumage on the birds of summer and early fall. Some shots show the more playful side of our little woodland birds.
 Although common, it is not everyday I get to see an American Redstart. Maybe it is because of this that I like this little bird so much, or perhaps it is because of the soft colors of the female and the bold, vibrant colors of the male.
 Whatever it is, I am pretty happy when I find one. This little female was seen near Fermeuse. As you can see, I was birding in scattered showers.
 The Wilson's Warbler like other species is becoming more scarce. Since last year's visit of the Hooded Warbler in the St. John's area, I find myself looking more closely at the Wilson's to make sure it is not a Hooded Warbler hiding away in a common flock.
 The Magnolia Warbler like the Yellow-bellied Flycatcher have been more plentiful this year. I am sure I have seen more than two dozen Magnolia Warblers this year, and right now is the time they are everywhere. They also appear in good mixed flocks where a more rare species may be found.
 Not to be out done, the Common Yellowthroat is also present in large numbers at this time of the year. Their look ranges from bright to very dull plumage.
 The confounding Blackpoll Warbler seems to present with the most variation in plumage. With moulting males and females and juveniles, it is very easy to misidentify this warbler. These two shots show one such bird in heavy moult.

 Juvenile birds abound. They are everywhere fattening up and building up their flying power for a journey ahead. Find the berries and you are likely to find a Cedar Waxwing or a Pine Grosbeak.
 When Pine Grosbeak aren't munching on weed seeds or berries, they can often be found sitting at the top of a tree singing away.
 The Ruby-crowned Kinglet is flocking with the warblers. Getting them to stay still long enough to get a photo is always a challenge.
 Among the common birds gathering now are also some uncommon species. This Cape May Warbler has been seen recently in Cappahayden.
 This type of encounter is the big lure for birders at this time of the year. Birding is kind of like Forrest Gump's box of chocolates. No matter what you find, the indulgence of birding is usually rewarding.
One of the prizes found in sorting my photos is the Gray-cheeked Thrush. This one was seen on the roadside before Fermeuse in early August. It is not typical to see one in this area, so I hadn't realized what it was until this weekend.
 This bird has the grayest cheek I have ever seen on this species. It lives up to its name. Also note the near absence of an eye ring.
 Saying goodbye to our little birds is not easy. For a while everywhere you looked you could see or hear a Northern Waterthrush. Not any more. Most of them seem to be gone for about a week now.
The Wilson's Warblers are also going quickly, and the ones that remain behind have become very secretive. I have spent a lot of time chasing unknown yellow birds in the thicket only to finally realize it is just a Wilson's.
When the rain passes, I shall leap into my car and hope to find some remaining birds trapped by the cloud cover. Hopefully, this spell of bad weather has grounded their flights.

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