There have been a few more sightings in the last week, though this has not been a typical spring migration here. Many birds I usually can count on have not shown themselves and I think the storms had an impact on their movements.
The Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been active and there are two females that come frequently to the flowers and feeders.
A Gray-cheeked Thrush was seen, well-camouflaged in the rocky, leaf-strewn swale.
A female Blackburnian Warbler was a delight to see at the Bubbler on Friday, 5/12/17.
A striking Canada Warbler soon followed. This is one of the most deeply marked birds I've ever photographed.
A fledgling American Robin discovered the Bubble and played in it!
On Mother's Day, I had just decided to go inside when I saw movement in the corner of the Bubbler Basin. The first Magnolia Warbler of the year had quietly slipped in.
On Thursday, 5/18/17 several young male American Redstarts showed at the Bubbler together. The following three images show first year males in different states of transition to the adult plumage. They begin with black feathers on their faces, the last bird is nearly there.
Finally, a first year male Chestnut-sided Warbler showed up. I usually have so many of this species that I'm telling them they'd better get going. Not this year, this is the only one that came to the Bubbler of the three individuals I had seen.
A bit later, a female American Redstart fluttered down, fan tailed. At least, I think this is a female since the bird is not showing distinctly black feathering yet.
A young Northern Cardinal also found its way to get a drink. It's heartening to see nesting success.
For all the photos since the last blog post, open this page: Photos beginning 5/10/17
The winds have not been all that favorable for the birds in this peak week of migration. The travelers that I've seen here seemed intent on feeding and barely singing. It takes so much energy to make their journeys.
It had rained 7 out of 9 days and a few Chipping Sparrows showed up as the showers subsided on Thursday afternoon, 5/4/17. This one found a tiny morsel on a violet.
The next day revealed some warblers. A Golden-winged Warbler looked in at the Bubbler before a squirrel came in too close for comfort.
It was followed soon after by a Blue-winged Warbler.
Nearby, mowers and blowers were deafening, but that did not stop this Baltimore Oriole from coming down from the canopy to bathe!
Yellow-rumped Warblers were still here on Friday, 5/5/17.
A female Indigo Bunting looked in from the Smooth Hydrangeas (Hydrangea arborescens) behind the Bubbler.
White-throated Sparrows were also here for a while longer before heading north to Canada.
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks came in a flock of 3 males and 3 females. These large finches were seen squabbling at the Bubbler and the feeders for several days.
On Sunday, 5/7/17 a Gray Catbird popped in to make its presence known. I had not heard it that day or since then.
On Monday, 5/8/17 a few more birds showed up. Two were warblers, this American Redstart and a Black-throated Green.
I'm always glad to see these 'old friends' but this bird was one I had not seen or photographed here before. It was a female Scarlet Tanager.
It has seemed to me all week that the same small flock of warblers kept moving around the neighborhood and I would see a slightly different mix each day. Nashville, Tennessee and female Black and White Warblers have bathed.
A Gray-cheeked Thrush found a tasty cricket for its breakfast in the cover of the Wood Poppies (Stylophorum diphyllum) and Wild Ginger (Asarum canadense) on Tuesday, 5/9/17. The insect was down the hatch in two quick gulps!
Another bird that I never heard call but stopped to check in was this Yellow-bellied Flycatcher on Wednesday, 5/10/17.
Today has been pretty quiet with showers on and off and northwest winds again. Maybe tomorrow will be a brighter day and bring some birds!
To see all the photos from the past week, begin here:
April has flown and May has come along with new migrants! Rains accumulated here to over 8" for the last storm, southerly winds gusted to 30 mph or more on Monday. Birds had dropped in overnight, staying in our low-lying woodland to find food. A Summer Tanager flew into an oak next to the deck at very close range. It was busy making short sallies for insects and did not make its "pit-ti-tuk" call.
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The first female Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrived the same day.
Rose-breasted Grosbeaks worked in the trees to find caterpillars and also came to the feeders.
A first year male Summer Tanager came to the Bubbler! It was my very first opportunity to photograph one in this changing, mottled plumage.
Though it was very windy, I was able to spot a small warbler moving in and out of cover looking for food. This bird has always been a difficult one for me to photograph. Here is the Common Yellowthroat, back view.
And, here is the bird in full lemony splendor! The next day, I could hear it calling its "witchety-witchety-witchety" song.
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The nesters have been busy, too. Here, a Hairy Woodpecker found a super-sized larva for its fledgling to eat. The adult waved it in front of the young bird, to get it interested, ready and in the right position to take it down. It seemed to be a bit of a tug of war.
Success! The youngster swallowed it all and gets an "Atta, bird!" from its proud parent!
The winds slowed down a bit and more birds were revealed on Tuesday, 5-2-17. A Bay-breasted Warbler was in the elm and then the shingle oak near the driveway, feeding in the trees.
Then, Black and White Warblers showed themselves. The male has the dark black on the cheek and throat, the female's cheek is paler and throat is white.
Another bird that came down is this Blue-winged Warbler. I've only been able to photograph this one a handful of times so I was very pleased to see it. It never sang its "bee-buzz" song.
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Serendipity brought in another first year male Summer Tanager!
Here are the three Summer Tanagers from the last few days in one composite photo. I heard the full song and call of a male on Tuesday afternoon. The Summer Tanager is our only all red bird and has the large "peanut-like" bill.
For all the photos from the last few days, begin here:
Right after the last post, I stepped outside to hear birdsong and see some activity. There was a Northern Cardinal foraging for caterpillars in the shingle oak (Quercus imbricaria) near the driveway, the same tree the Blue Grosbeaks were in last week.
The bird had found a small caterpillar within the curled leaf. Think "button candy" being peeled off the paper. I followed the cardinal and in a split second, a Scarlet Tanager popped in to challenge it for feeding rights! The tanager flew as thunder rumbled again.
The birds are here looking for food whether we can find them or not. The growth on the leaves has been exponential with the heat and rains. The leaves are still soft and supple, perfect for the caterpillars to munch on as well as to provide the ideal place in which to pupate. I took a leaf from a low-hanging branch on the tree to get a look inside.
I gently began to pry open the folded area on the leaf and the caterpillar crawled out. It was just beginning to form its sheltered space.
It was also in a hurry to get away. I offered the caterpillar a twig, it climbed on and I took it back over to the oak where it found a new leaf for its temporary home. No caterpillars were harmed in this investigation!
So, this is the stuff of life for these birds! Yes, the leaves get some holes, but not all the leaves are used. In fact, the birds keep the trees healthy by eating many of these invertebrates. There will be some left to become moths that will feed the next generation. There is no need for any other form of control. Stand back and the tree still looks beautifully cloaked in green.
Be careful what you wish for, they say. There can always be wide swings in temperature and rainfall here in the Midwest. Our two day rainfall total was over 4" by 10:00 this morning, and more storms are on the way.
Birds have been busy here this past week. Yellow-rumped Warblers and White-throated Sparrows are still here fueling up for the next leg of their journeys.
A Ruby-crowned Kinglet got close and personal with "the bubble". This bird is most likely a female since it didn't flash a ruby crown. It had a great time!
Palm Warblers have been around for several days now, finding food in the swampy thicket and small puddles in which to bathe.
Another Hermit Thrush was seen on Wednesday, 4/26/17.
Several days, Indigo Buntings have been here foraging in small flocks with adult and mottled first year birds, like this male.
About 30 American Goldfinches were in the oaks one morning and several stayed around to bathe. They look so beautiful now in their breeding plumage.
On Thursday, 4/2/7//17 I heard a Blue-headed Vireo singing sweetly. It finally came down into view and perched in this small elm tree.
Here is the page with its song: Blue-Headed Vireo
Vireos like to splash-bathe and this bird wasted no time finding the basin and getting a quick bath before the rains came.
There's a break in the rain, so it is time to have another look and listen.
To see all the photos from this past week, begin here: Birds since 4/21/17