Archive for May, 2014

American Redstart male 5/31/14

americanredstart

American Redstarts flash their colorful wing and tail panels as they forage in the canopy for insects and spiders, the theory being that it scares prey into moving. These little warblers are fond of moist deciduous woods, here in Cape Breton I often find them along the brooks and rivers. Females are gray green where the males are black, with yellower wing and tail panels instead of the bright orange. Fetched at Hol’s Brook.

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Black-throated Green Warbler male 5/29/14

blackthroatedgreenwarblermale

I’m usually straining my neck to look for Black-throated Green Warblers when I hear their distinctive “Zhoo zhoo zhee zhoo zheeeeee!” song in the upper hardwood canopy. When I came across this guy yesterday it was a cold and wet morning on the trail, which luckily meant the bugs were closer to the ground and this bird was closer to eye-level when I finally got some shots. The bright yellow face contrasting with the all black bib is distinctive, females are duller and lack the bib, but retain some black markings under the throat.

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Ovenbird 5/28/14

ovenbird

Warbler week continues with a one adapted to look much like one of the spotted thrushes which also forage for invertebrates on the floor of the deep woods. Ovenbirds have a peculiar gate for a warbler, strutting around on their pink legs like a miniature chicken, whereas most warblers are flitting around in the upper or lower canopy catching insect prey on the wing. They get their name from the semi-domed covered nests they build on the ground resembling an old-fashioned dutch oven. Sexes are alike but the males sing Teacher! Teacher! Teacher! Teacher! getting progressively louder as the phrase is repeated.

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Wilson’s Warbler male 5/27/14

wilsonswarbler

One of the more northern warblers, so fairly common here in the Canadian Maritimes west to Alaska but less common farther south except for the northernmost states. Wilson’s Warbler’s prefer open woodland, I found this male in a stand of old-growth maples.  Olive green above and yellow below, only the adult male sports the dapper black cap.

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Chestnut-sided Warbler 5/25/14

chestnutsidedwarbler

Male Chestnut-sided Warblers are easy to identify, being the only warbler with chestnut red flanks and a bright yellow crown. Females have chestnut sides too but less pronounced, and their cap is more green than yellow.

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Brown-headed Cowbird male 5/24/14

brownheadedcowbird2

These birds don’t build nest or even form pairs, but after mating the female lays her eggs in the nests of other birds so they will foster the young cowbird chicks as their own. Only males have the sleek and shiny brown heads, females are likewise lighter-headed but a mousey brown-gray all over.

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Common Yellowthroat 5/19/14

commonyellowthroatmale

One of the most numerous of warblers, Common Yellowthroat males sing “Witchety witchety witchety witch.” Only the adult males wear the highwayman’s mask, though an immature male will show a partial one and females are much plainer without the mask but still have a bright yellow throat.  You’ll find them in thickets and edges, low to the ground, often around marshes and other wetlands.

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