Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Grosbeak Moment...

Juvy Red Breasted Grosbeak
It was 59 degrees at 7:00 a.m. and a beautiful blue sky. Cool and pleasant.

I was greeted by a hoard of excited chickadees this morning in an oak tree near the parking lot. Then worked my way around the lower gardens.

I saw some song sparrows, robins, goldfinches, a flicker, catbirds, mockingbirds, a cardinal family with young and a hummer that whizzed by. Then, I saw a warblerish bird high up in the oaks to the left of the bluebird houses. It had an olivey green back and a white underbelly with some subtle striations on the side. Couldn't identify it. Suddenly, there was movement in a shrub right in front of me. I caught a glimpse of some deep gray and bright yellow. I was thinking parula or nahsville, but just couldn't see it long enough. I became super frustrated at my lack of knowledge and identification skills and was desperately wishing that Haynes or Ian would appear.

Grosbeak Female
As I was walking to the upper gardens I saw more warblerish birds. One had black and white stripes on his head and at first I thought black and white, then black poll and then back to black and white. There was some other warblerish bird to the right but it flew ahead and who was behind me, but Haynes!!! I was so happy to have another set of eyes with more experience than mine!

The black and white was confirmed. We saw our usual pals including a very baby mockingbird that looked like it was almost fresh out of a nest. We saw a juvenile waxwing and I believe Haynes saw some adults. There were song sparrows, goldfinches, house finches, titmice and house wrens. As we ducked in to the scrubby area near the bent over birch tree, we had a great viewing of a parula. We also viewed several of the warblers I described in the lower gardens high up in the oak trees at the back of the upper gardens with the olive green back. Haynes identified them as parulas as well - maybe females?

We encountered a mystery bird happily eating from someones garden and acting very much like a goldfinch but it didn't quite look like a goldfinch. We stared at it for some time and went over and over what it could be (possibly a young one?). It was yellow with some black on the wings and a little bit of white in the wing area but not nearly as crisp as a goldfinch (even a molting one). Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture but we are discussing the possibility of whether it could have been a lesser goldfinch which apparently would be quite unusual for this area.

Our grosbeak moment happened as we were looking for warblers when Haynes spotted a juvenile male rose-breasted grosbeak (whose breast was really more like robin orange at this point) hanging out quietly on a nearby branch. It turned out there was more than one nearby and all of a sudden at least three of them were in low shrubs right in front of us - a female, a male and a juvenile male and possibly a juvenile female. My pictures don't do them justice but what can you do…

In the pond we were surprised to see a kingfisher! That was a first for me in that spot. Saw a garter snake up in Woodcock meadow and lots of phoebes down by the soccer field as well as a red-eyed vireo high up in a tree.

No comments:

Post a Comment