Archive for May, 2013

Evening Grosbeak female 5/29/13



Like my grandma used to say ” . . . she puff out.” Mostly gray, black, and white with some yellowy-greenish highlights, you can tell she’s a relative of the Northern Cardinal with that big honking bill. She sits patiently and only seems to approach the feeder after the male goes first, and he’s sitting a few feet away and below her. I hope to post that handsome devil next time I come out of the bushes.


Sanderlings molting 5/28/13


The birds are part of the Sanderling flock I see around Hampton Harbor all winter, though they are coming out of that soft gray plumage and taking on a more mottled appearance with browns and reds replacing the grays. Some are farther along and redder than these three, especially in the face.


American Redstart, bathing male, 5/27/13


American Redstarts are one of our wood warblers but aren’t related to the European redstarts, though both use their flashy colors to scare up insects to snack on. This guy’s enjoying the puddle in my neighbor’s driveway after a recent rain. Until recently, the American Redstart was the only bird belonging to the genus Setophaga, but Setophaga now includes 32 species of the former genus Dendroica—representing a small victory for those taxonomists who favor lumping over splitting.


Rose-breasted Grosbeak male 5/25/13


Talk about handsome on a stick! This bird is smaller than you’d expect—if you saw it next to a robin maybe only 2/3s its size? I watched him wait quietly in a thicket over a brook for a good hour, just a hint of its back and wings in sight, before it ventured down to my neighbors feeder to scatter the purple and goldfinches long enough for a few snaps.


Red-eyed Vireo 5/22/13


Red-eyed Vireos are the commonest bird of eastern woodlands that you simply never see. They hang out high in the canopy and sing all day long using phrases that often sound like questions followed by answers, and once the trees have thoroughly leafed out it’s pretty near impossible to find them. Vireos are a bit stockier and larger than warblers, though they aren’t much related. Red-eyed Vireos are drab olive on the back, whiter bellied, with a dark red eye and a gray cap.



Baltimore Oriole 5/21/13


One of the flutiest of songbirds, Baltimore Orioles sing from high in the treetops and are one of the easiest birds to identify by its clear rich notes. They can be lured to feeding stations with oranges or grape jelly and will even sip from hummingbird feeders. Males are black and bright orange, while females and immatures are more yellow where males are orange, and gray where males are black.



Tricolored Heron 5/20/13


Okay, okay, not such a great photo, but it _IS_ an adult Tricolored Heron I found wading in Chauncey Creek yesterday, and it was way way far away and I was thrilled to get any photo since no sooner had I taken this, than it took off towards Brave Boat Harbor. Tricolored Herons used to be called Louisiana Herons and are one of the medium sized herons, just a little bigger than the Little Blue which looks similar but is all one color. It wasn’t until I noticed this bird’s white belly that I realized it was something even more rare. I’ve seen these herons in Central America, but never before in Maine.


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