Sunday, August 19, 2012

Catch this...

Willow Flycatcher
What a gorgeous day! It was 58 degrees and clear this morning at 7:00 a.m. A perfect birding day.

As I walked from the car to the gardens, I was greeted with several high pitched sounds. High up in the trees in the little triangle separating the meadow from the gardens were several cedar waxwings which flew off to another location as I approached.

I headed to a sunny patch and immediately saw this little guy. I was debating about whether it was a willow or alder flycatcher, when Haynes appeared. Other possibilities included a least flycatcher and the peewee. After much discussion about eye rings, beak color, head size etc., we have finally decided that it was most likely a Willow flycatcher.  It was very active. Guess there were lots of flies to catch!

Red Sunflower
A few minutes Mary Lou turned up as well. We saw the American redstart, yellow warblers, catbirds, house wrens, chickadees, an oriole, song sparrows and robins. We were quite amused to see a tiny little hummer chasing a large mourning dove all around the gardens.

I was away for a week, and suddenly the gardens have matured in a way that you know fall is coming. The sunflowers have shot up to at least 8 feet and seem to come in quite a variety of colors. The cheerful, lemon yellow sundrops also known as Evening Primrose (oenethera) are also blooming. Corn on the cob is full and ready for picking and tomatoes are ripening to their deep orangey red color.

In the upper gardens, we saw at least one blue gray gnatcatcher, an eastern wood peewee, the eastern phoebe. Lots of insect catchers! There was a downy woodpecker, a flicker, blue jays and titmice.

The soccer field was rather quiet, but down by the pond we were not disappointed. Mary Lou had seen some black crowned night herons down there yesterday and we were hoping for a repeat performance. We didn't see any adults, but we did see the juvenile black crowned heron and then Haynes spotted a green heron very camouflaged in the greenish mucky pond. A kingfisher hung out on an arc of an old, dead tree branch, waiting for his opportunity for a tasty morsel and just as we turned to leave, a blue heron flew overhead!

Older Fawn
The river was quiet and the barn swallows have fledged, so we headed to Woodcock meadow where Ian suddenly appeared and joined us. There was a flurry of activity in a juniper tree. We saw a black and white warbler, another blue gray gnatcatcher and another redstart!

We walked through the woods near the JCC where it was very quiet and finally heard the peewee in the same location that we seem to hear it every year - as we start to near the woods near the parking lot!

As we all got ready to depart, this beautiful fawn appeared in the upper gardens. What could be a better way to end a birdwatching morning?


  1. The picture shows that my id was not right, Suzette. No eyering. Very likely this was a Willow Flycatcher. Alder usually shows some eyering. The other possibility is Eastern Wood-pewee, but the breast was clear and I the bill too stubby. Just goes to show ... I'm glad you got the picture!

  2. Interesting… This is such a tricky business sometimes.