September musings 9-19-23

September 19, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

9-17-23 Sugar Maple leaf on Smooth Hydrangea9-17-23 Sugar Maple leaf on Smooth Hydrangea


It's time to catch up! Leaves are falling, birds are chipping, foraging and bathing. Here are some highlights.


9-1-23 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher composite9-1-23 Yellow-bellied Flycatcher composite

Yellow-bellied Flycatchers have been seen frequently in the thicket and around the bubbler, catching small insects or splash-bathing. 


9-6-23 Yellow-billed Cuckoo9-6-23 Yellow-billed Cuckoo

A silent Yellow-billed Cuckoo slipped onto this branch one day. In typical fashion, it sat and slowly looked all around before heading to another elm.

  9-7-23 Swainson's Thrush9-7-23 Swainson's Thrush

You may remember this post from July:  How well do you know the Thrushes?


We've been seeing Swainson's Thrush and the uncommon Veery. 

  9-7-23 Veery9-7-23 Veery 9-8-23 Veery -brownish9-8-23 Veery -brownish 9-8-23 Veery #29-8-23 Veery #2

The last two were seen on the same day, 9/8/23. My eBird checklist was flagged, seeing two needed some evidence, so I added the photos. The middle photo shows a brownish bird, the last is more typical of the tawny coloration of the adult plumage. These birds are often seen in dimly lit, wooded locations and it is often challenging to identify them. 


9-12-23-2 Veery 1st year9-12-23-2 Veery 1st year 9-13-23 Veery 1st year bird9-13-23 Veery 1st year bird

This is a first year Veery, seen on 9/12/23 and 9/13/23. I searched my guides and apps to find drawings of it in Sibley's. It has the "weak brownish lateral throat stripe, pale gray flanks and bright white belly." The lighter feathering on the wing was also in the drawing. It's always exciting to see something for the first time!


9-13-23 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female or immature9-13-23 Ruby-throated Hummingbird female or immature 9-17-23 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelwee9-17-23 Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Jewelwee

Young Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been busy protecting a patch of flowers or a feeder. The second bird is sipping nectar from Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis) near the pond.  


9-16-23 Ruby-throated Hummingbird with twisted bill9-16-23 Ruby-throated Hummingbird with twisted bill

This hummingbird first caught my eye because of the bright red feathers on its throat. However, look more closely. This bird has a twisted bill. It had been at the flowers and seemed okay drinking at the feeder. So, I sent this photo and others to my friend, Lanny Chambers, a licensed hummingbird bander since 1999, and asked him for his thoughts. Lanny guessed it might be due to a mandible dislocation that didn't quite heal properly, possibly caused by a window strike or other collision. As long as the bill still keeps the tongue from drying out, the bird should be fine. Lanny had seen a couple of these plus dozens of healed bill fractures in birds he had banded. They were otherwise healthy and seemed to have adapted well. Still, Lanny wanted to check in with a veterinarian colleague about this bird.

Lanny wrote back to say, "I contacted Dr. Lisa Tell, a veterinary professor at UCSD and fellow hummingbird bander. She says "scissor bill" is usually a developmental problem, occurring before hatching, not an injury. She doesn't know if it's a genetic, environmental, or random mutation. So, my guess wasn't a good one. I consider Lisa the world expert on hummingbird health and pathology."

Again, we've seen something new and learned from it! Isn't Nature fascinating? Thanks so much, Lanny!


Now, for the warbler report.

  9-7-23 American Redstart9-7-23 American Redstart 9-12-23 Black-and-white Warbler9-12-23 Black-and-white Warbler 9-12-23 Tennessee Warbler9-12-23 Tennessee Warbler

An American Redstart, Black-and-white and Tennessee Warblers are featured first.


9-12-23-2 Bay-breasted Warbler9-12-23-2 Bay-breasted Warbler 9-12-23-2 FOS Common Yellowthroat9-12-23-2 FOS Common Yellowthroat

Bay-breasted Warblers and a Common Yellowthroat have frequented the bubbler.


9-14-23 Chestnut-sided Warbler9-14-23 Chestnut-sided Warbler

9-16-23 Chestnut-sided Warbler9-16-23 Chestnut-sided Warbler
9-16-23 Chestnut-sided Warbler with Rough-leaf Dogwood berry9-16-23 Chestnut-sided Warbler with Rough-leaf Dogwood berry

Chestnut-sided Warblers have been at both the bubbler and the stream bed. The female in the last photo has been coming in for several days to the Rough-leaf Dogwood trees (Cornus drummondii) to grab berries. Another first here is seeing a warbler take berries. I've read that this is common in spring before they take off from Central and South America. Who knew this dogwood could be so important and nutritious to this little bird? Glad we had a bumper crop this year! (Photo is taken through a screen, that's why it's a little fuzzy.)


9-15-23 Black-throated Green Warbler9-15-23 Black-throated Green Warbler

9-13-23 Black-throated Green Warbler female with insect9-13-23 Black-throated Green Warbler female with insect 9-16-23 Black-throated Green Warbler9-16-23 Black-throated Green Warbler 9-16-23 Black-throated Green Warbler9-16-23 Black-throated Green Warbler 9-17-23 Black-throated Green Warblers9-17-23 Black-throated Green Warblers

Black-throated Green Warblers have been active everywhere, splashing, finding insect food and having a nice break to rest and refuel here.


  Ovenbirds and Northern Parulas came in yesterday to enjoy the water in this dry spell.


9-17-23 Bay-breasted Warbler in Sugar Maple9-17-23 Bay-breasted Warbler in Sugar Maple


Ah, fall color is upon us, in trees and birds! 

Wow, they are so beautifully camouflaged in our Missouri native trees. Do you see the bird in this Sugar Maple?

Yes, Bay-breasted Warbler. To see all the photos since the last post, use the following link.

Birds since 9/1/23







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