Sunday, July 31, 2011

Many Young Birds and 2 Early Migrants

This morning I spent about 2 hours covering 1 mile of Lake Creek Trail starting at Parmer Village. I found 40 species of birds, and if you're interested in seeing the list it's here. High numbers of young birds continue. Often immature birds are not as wary as adults, so it's easier to get close looks at them. One fun example this morning was this immature Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.

Immature Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

You can see how short its tail is, and you can even see some pink around the shoulder which is usually only visible when the bird is in flight. I found this bird by the last dam on the creek. It was bathing by flying out low over the water and splashing through the surface to get wet. Then it would return to its perch to preen.

I was excited to find 2 early south-bound migrants: a single immature male Orchard Oriole, and a single Least Flycatcher. Least Flycatchers breed in the the northern United States and throughout much of Canada. They are famous for spending very little time on their breeding grounds -- barely over 2 months. Then they head south to Mexico and Central America. This is the first species I've heard of that maintains territories on its wintering grounds as well as its breeding grounds. So there's pressure to get back to its wintering grounds fast and claim the best territory.

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