Sunday, July 11, 2010

More Juvenile Birds

I spent a little over 3 hours birding the neighborhood this morning. Unlike yesterday, today the sun was out early so I was thankful for a light breeze that made things a bit more comfortable. It's a relatively slow time of year to be birding but I found a few interesting things anyway. There are still lots of juvenile birds around, hatched this season and finding their way on their own. I got some decent photos of 2 of them as well as some adult birds and other wildlife.

On Lake Creek Trail near the footbridge I was watching 2 juvenile White-eyed Vireos foraging. They were duller than adults and hadn't gotten their white eyes yet. There were also Eastern Phoebes and a Great Crested Flycatcher nearby. 2 hummingbirds appeared, chasing each other around, and I got this photo of one of them when it briefly perched. You can see just a few of the purple iridescent throat feathers on this bird, which tells me it's a Black-chinned Hummingbird. It's likely both this hummingbird and the vireos are from nests right in this patch of woods.

Juvenile Black-chinned Hummingbird

On the other side of the playing fields at the water's edge I found one of the frogs that you can hear on the creek almost all the time. The tiny Blanchard's Cricket Frog makes a call that sounds like two pebbles smacking together over and over. It's a common sound along the trail, but I don't often get to see who's making it. Here's the photo I got.

Blanchard's Cricket Frog

While photographing the cricked frog I was hearing a loud squeal repeated over and over. I thought it sounded like a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk and I confirmed this when I entered the woods by the last dam and flushed it from its perch on a dead tree. I wonder if it was the offspring of the adult Red-tailed Hawks I often see here.

When I crossed the last dam on the creek I found a juvenile Green Heron hunting in the shallow water right by the path. Often juvenile birds are less wary of people than adult birds, and I was able to get quite close to this heron. On top of its head you can see a few whitish strands left from its nestling plumage, as well as a little of the green color which gives this species its common name.

Juvenile Green Heron - 2

On my way back I found 3 Bronzed Cowbirds by the large baseball field. This is a pretty reliable spot for finding this species in the summer. Today I got one of the best photos of the male I've ever gotten. The red eye really caught the light and you can see its puffed out neck feathers.

Male Bronzed Cowbird - 2

There were 2 other noteworthy bird species I found this morning, only by sound. On Stillforest at about 7:30 a Dickcissel flew over me, making its characteristic rude-sounding flight call. And 3 hours later at Broadmeade and Holbrook, I heard a Broad-winged Hawk repeatedly calling. This was right by a nest this species made a couple summers ago and I believe they continue to breed in the neighborhood.


Susan Andres said...

What a great picture of the Bronzed Cowbird especially with the contrast against the yellow piping!

Mikael Behrens said...

Thanks! I didn't think that the yellow plastic could be an asset to the photo.