Tag Archives: Song BIrds

Pine Warbler

This is another bird that flew in right over my head while I was watching the Great Blue Herons work on their nests. I’m pretty sure it is a Pine Warbler, but there are a number of similar yellow warblers making my ID iffy.

Pine WarblerPine Warbler

He landed on a strand of hanging Spanish Moss and gave it a couple of pokes.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

Not finding anything, he flitted a little further from me,

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

My view wasn’t as good but he treated me to an acrobatic display.

Pine Warbler
Pine Warbler

Eastern Phoebes Around the Ponds

I’ve seen Eastern Phoebes around several of the marsh and pond areas in the last few weeks. With the leaves off many of the trees they are a little easier to spot.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

I also watched some acrobatic flights and hovering over the water that I wasn’t prepared for. Now that I’ve seen it I might be able to photograph it given another opportunity.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

They don’t stay in one place long but this one found the perfect stick close to the water with a nice reflection from the nearby trees.

Eastern Phoebe
Eastern Phoebe

Secretive Sparrow

Secretive is a word that Cornell Lab’s AllAboutBirds uses to describe the behavior of many sparrows. The song birds often keep a layer of branches or undergrowth between them and a would be photographer.

Marsh Sparrow
Sparrow

Secretive as he was, zipping in and out of the reeds at the edge of the path along the edge of the old rice field, I did get a few good shots.

Marsh Sparrow
Marsh Sparrow

The yellow around his eye points to a Savannah Sparrow or a Swamp Sparrow. Or it could be one of the 30 other Sparrow variations listed on their website. On the Song Sparrow listing they say:

Don’t let the bewildering variety of regional differences this bird shows across North America deter you…

I am deterred from proper identification but not the photograph.

Marsh Sparrow
Marsh Sparrow

Click on any photo for larger view.

Warbler

I always have my eye out for the small birds, watching for darting  movements through the trees and undergrowth. This summer they were elusive, always hidden by leaves or behind a limb.

Warbler
Warbler

Now at the end of September the grasses and brush have started to thin and drop back making a shot more attainable.

Warbler
Warbler

This Warbler lit on a beautiful muted scene just as I was glanced that way. His coloration doesn’t quite match the samples on the identification resources.

Warbler
Warbler

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher…

…I think. Or maybe a Vireo.

It looks a lot like the Gnatchatcher drawing in the Peterson Field Guide and less like the photos on Cornell’s All About Birds website. The eye ring points to a Vireo.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

Either way, it was a perky energetic bird that mostly stayed hidden by branches of the trees he was inspecting. A dead limb let me get a few clear shots.

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

A flash of the tail and he was gone.

I’ve been calling these small birds “Song Birds” but have learned while trying to identify this bird that as members of the order Passeriformes they are “Perching Birds.” The arrangement of their toes, with three pointing forward and one backward, facilitates perching. Somehow I’ve been skipping over that in my bird ID activities.

 

Red-winged Black Bird

A familiar sight to many, the Red-winged Black Bird is found over most of the continental United States year round and extends its range into a big swath of Canada for the summer.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird singing at a marsh- click photo for larger view

The males are always vying for attention with a flash of their shoulder patches and constant singing. This one’s tail feathers flared out every time he called, something I hadn’t noticed before.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird – click photo for larger view

On this rather dull day his eyes appeared as black as his feathers.

Red-winged Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird – click photo for larger view

 

Common Yellowthroat

This warbler was busy collecting little worms from the undersides of leaves and kept darting out of a clear view.

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat – click photo for larger view

I didn’t know what it was, but the yellow chest was quite pretty when he did pop into the sun, so I kept trying to get a shot.

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat – click photo for larger view

All About Birds used the words “furtive” and “skulking” to describe the Common Yellowthroat’s behavior. I was fortunate to get a few shots with him in place.

Common Yellowthroat
Common Yellowthroat – click photo for larger view

Birds on the USS Yorktown (CV-10)

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is covered with attractive nooks and crannies if you are a bird. This includes the twelve historic aircraft on display on the flight deck.

Grackle Sitting on Helicopter
Grackle Sitting on Helicopter – click photo for larger view

Grackles were particularly abundant this week, using all openings for their homes.

Grackle Nesting in Aircraft
Grackle Nesting in Aircraft – click photo for larger view

An Osprey nest is perched in the tower. I hope it is a little sturdier than it appears here, at the top of the ladder.

Osprey Nest in Top of USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

A small flock of House Finches was perching off the edges of the flight deck on safety netting. I wasn’t able to see where they might be nesting as they zipped back and forth, somewhere below the edge of the deck.

House Finches hanging off USS Yorktown
House Finches hanging off USS Yorktown – click photo for larger view

The USS Yorktown (CV-10) is the centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, Mount Pleasant, SC. Towed to this spot in 1975 the Yorktown itself is a museum and additionally houses a number of exhibits associated with its history dating back to World War II.

Northern Cardinal

Northern Cardinals have a wide range across much of the United States east of the Rocky Mountains and down into Mexico and northern Central America. I frequently see them but rarely get a good shot.

Northern Cardinal
Northern Cardinal, singing his heart out, Click on photo for larger view.

This male Northern Cardinal was singing loud and clear in a tree above me but I just couldn’t spot him. I expected him to fly away as two people approached from the opposite direction. They could hear, and see, him, and seeing my dilemma kindly pointed him out.

Carolina Chickadee

This Chickadee was zipping around in the tree line and surprised me when he landed very close. Too close to get him all in focus before he flitted away.

I watched him go in a hole in a dead tree branch. He spent some time enlarging the hole, paused again for a look around, and then flew away. I waited but he did not return. I’ve been by the branch a few times since then and don’t see any sign of activity.

I’m calling it a Carolina Chickadee based on Cornell’s explanation that the range of the Carolina and Black Capped versions do not overlap. They also say there are differences in their voices, but my ear is not that good to distinguish a “a four-noted song, and a faster chick-a-dee call.”

Click any photo for larger view.