Monday, May 31, 2010
This Clay-colored Sparrow is not a common visitor to this province. I was able to find and get a few photographs in early December before the snow fall.
This is one of the first birds that I photographed and I didn't have much of a chance. It took me a while to realize that it was the Clay-colored and then to get set up for a couple of shots.
I am not sure if this is a female or male. After all of the sparrows that I have posted today, it is easy to see how difficult it can be to identify the differences. It is kind of like the seagull series that I posted over the winter.
I have one more sparrow to post in the near future. Now, at last, I can upload my many weekend pictures from from my camera to my computer. I can hardly wait to see them all.
This little sparrow has a yellow eyebrow in front of the eye. There are times that it looks quite bright. The yellow often fades into a white or beige line above the eye. It gets its name from the distinct white throat patch. The head has two dark brown crown stripes and an eye line beginning behind the dye.
On its breast it is grayish with some light streaking. This bird is often found on the ground or on lower branches of a tree. It also frequented the feeder set up at Long Pond.
I got into position and the birds were beginning to get comfortable with me being there and I started shooting.
Saturday, May 29, 2010
I took a quick dart to Kent's Pond yesterday afternoon to have a walk and see what I might find there. I was expecting warblers, not a thrush. I saw, at a distance, a couple of small birds that I could not identify. The usual place at the start of the trail was totally empty.
I didn't hold out much hope for seeing any new bird. After walking the South side of the trail and backtracking, I started to work the North side. I heard a Robin and paused for a minute to try to determine its location. Often different birds can be found together.
It was then that I saw some movement in the brush on the ground. I found this very dark brown bird moving among the twigs and fallen branches. It seemed impossible to get a picture of it because of all of the branches between it and me. Focus is totally thrown off by anything in the frame between the camera and the target. I managed to get off three shots before it disappeared in the woods. I didn't think I captured the bird in any of them, but it was gone and that was it.
I hoped against hope that at least I got a clear record shot because I had not seen this bird before and needed the picture to identify it. When I downloaded my images at home, I was delighted to find that I did get one clear shot. It was then that I got out all of my field guides in search of a dark brown bird with a pointed beak. I looked and I looked and there was no bird that looked like this one. Time to ask for help! I sent the shot to Dave Brown, local birder, and he identified it right away as a Swainson's Thrush. The shot that I have does not reveal the markings on the breast and that proved to be difficult for me. Dave is always so good about identifying the bird and then, explaining the features that led him to the conclusion. Great instruction!
I searched the Discussion Group to try to learn more about when and where this bird appears. It seems that this is a common bird for Newfoundland but not so common for St. John's. The short hours that I spent at Kent's Pond to get some physical exercise led me to at least another hour of mental activity of identifying and learning about this 95th new bird in my 2010 list!
Friday, May 28, 2010
Sparrows are a bit tricky to identify. There are many with very similar markings. The Swamp Sparrow has a grey face, white throat, grey breast and white belly. Notice the line behind the eye and the grey line above the eye.
Update: I found this little bird when walking at Long Pond on Sunday. The lighting and the surroundings make this Swamp Sparrow's colors look richer. Yet, when I go down through all of the discriptors of this little one, it is clear that it, too, is a Swamp Sparrow.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Well, the summer birds are coming in all across the island and in good numbers. The warblers are my bird-of-the-moment. It is amazing how many there are and how striking they look. With this onslaught, I have added several types of warblers and some new sparrows to my list. The list? Well, I have now spotted and photographed 94 species since January 1, 2010.
Today, I decided to share my new pictures of the Black and White Warbler. I found this guy at Kent Pond yesterday afternoon and it was still there today. If anyone is interested in checking this out, this bird was located in the trail that runs by the brook toward the Howley Building. Along with him, I found a Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blackpoll Warbler and a Wilson's Warbler. On the South side of the pond, I found a very bright Yellow Warbler. This morning, I also found a Spotted Sandpiper on the South side of the pond near the wharf. Overhead, there were three Tree Swallows sailing about. They are a challenge to photograph!
Sunday, May 23, 2010
During the weekend, I drove through some back roads in search of new spring arrivals. This drowsy little American Robin flew in and barely got a grip on this post.
His suit looked a little crumpled. I couldn't help but think maybe he imbibed a bit too much last night at a May 24 (twenty-four) party. For anyone who is unfamiliar with this holiday, it marks the unofficial beginning of Summer. Many a campsite is loaded with cases (two dozen -24) of beer to add some levity to the party.