Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bulletin #136 – migration #2

David McDonald Photography
Friendswood Texas

April 18, 2011

(Click on the photos to see a larger image)

I will be posting the reports of the birds found on my various outings on the blog now. I posted the first one Sunday April 17th from LaFitte's Cove, Galveston. Please feel free to check in often to the blog to find my field reports.
Last weekend provided better birding and we actually had a fall-out on Friday, with a front that came through before noon and the winds shifted to the north. I birded at Quintana on Friday and LaFitte’s Cove on the weekend.
The rock-star bird in the spring is always the gaudy male Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris). I had good looks at several of them at Quintana and here are 2 photos.

There were many Indigo Buntings (Passerina cyanea) all weekend. The male is all blue, but sometimes some will not be completely molted and still showing some brown feathers during spring migration. This one at the water feature in Quintana was all blue.

The female Indigo Bunting is light brown, with a slight bluish wash on the wings and tail. Also, there is some streaking on the breast. This streaking, on the breast, is an important field mark to differentiate the female Indigo from the female Blue Grosbeak who lacks the breast streaks.

In keeping with the colorful birds, here is my best photo ever of a breeding male Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra). It is a simple ID as it is the only bird in North America that is all red (even the cardinal has black on the face).

A nice treat was a pair of Scissor-tailed Flycatchers (Tyrannus forficatus) that landed in the Quintana sanctuary. This spectacular bird has the longest tail of any songbird in the USA. The male has the longer tail.

The female has a tail about 1/3 shorter.

Now I turn from the beautiful non-warblers to the plainest of warblers. I got my best photos of the waterthrushes. These 2 species are difficult if not impossible for beginners to separate in the field. I still have trouble myself and I like when an expert is present to call the correct ID. With these photos, I think it should be easier to see the differences in the species.

So here is the Louisiana Waterthrush (Seiurus motacilla). The field marks are the wide white eye-stripe that goes a long way down the back of the neck, the buffy flanks best seen in the second photo, and the pink legs as seen in the first photo.

Here is the Northern Waterthrush (Seiurus noveboracensis). The differing field marks are the narrower eye-stripe that doesn’t extend as far down the neck, the flanks are white to slightly yellowish, and the legs are grayer.

Happy Birding and Photography,

David McDonald


photos copyright 2011 David McDonald

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