Archive for November, 2018

Red-tailed Hawk 11/14/18

Red-tailed Hawks are classic buteos, the genus of hawks characterized by robust bodies, broad wings, and wide tails that enable them to circle and soar the heights effortlessly in search of prey. You’ll also find them perched in trees along the highway, or scanning the ground from a phone pole or wire, ready to pounce on some hapless rodent. Red-tails are large even for a buteo (in Europe buteos are called buzzards), and females are up to a third larger than males. North of us, many Red-tails migrate but in Southern Maine they remain abundant during the winter months.

 

Comments

Palm Warbler female 11/6/18

There’s nothing more confusing in the bird world than the fall warblers to me, but I do have a few of them down, one of them being the Palm Warbler. Spring males are brighter yellow and the breast streaks and cap are a rusty chestnut. No hint of that here leads me to think this a female when a juve would be even more drab and less yellow. Palms are found lower to the ground than most warblers, and helpful in identifying them is the near constant wagging of their tails.

Comments

Black-bellied Plover juveniles 11/3/18

There are three possible plumages of Black-bellied Plover one might see during fall migration in Maine—adults still in breeding plumage are common early in the season, sporting their eponymous black bellies. Later you can see adults molting or that have already molted into the soft grays of non-breeding plumage (in Europe this same bird is called the Gray Plover), but more often than not the Black-bellied Plovers you see in October and November are these spotted and very spangled juveniles. All plumages of Black-bellieds have large black armpits which are unmistakeable in flight or when stretching or lifting their wings. I waited quite awhile for one of these to oblige me but was not rewarded, And I’m not inclined to frighten birds for a photo. You might see the odd Black-bellied Plover during the winter months, their winter range on the Atlantic coast starts not far south of us on Cape Cod.

Comments

Wild Turkey 11/2/18

That hairy boinker rising from this young Wild Turkey’s forehead is called a snood, one of a number of fleshy execrecences called caruncles or carnosities such as those red warty squiggles at the back of the head and neck, but which also includes the wattles and dewlaps under the chin, and in other birds can include combs, crests, and other protrusions. Female Turkeys are called hens, males are gobblers or Toms, hatchlings are called poults and young males like this one are called Jakes. As he matures his snood becomes long and pendulous up to 5 or 6 inches, flopped over and hanging well below the bill, and the skin from which the various caruncles protrude becomes a bright pale blue in a mature gobbler.

Comments