Monday, September 19, 2011

Bulletin #143 - hawks and fall migrant birds

I finally have some available time to look at some of my photos for the past few months after a hectic summer.

I showed a photo of the adult Red-shouldered Hawk picking up the crayfish from early July. I went back and looked at some others, and some were also good. Here are 2 sequential photos 1/8 second apart as he is just about to pick the crawfish off the grass and just after as he is lifting off afterwards.

I also put those photos uncropped with the one before and 2 after in a slide show. The whole clip lasts less than a second. Click on 1 second below the photos to speed it up.  Link

 So here are some other fall migration birds I found the last couple of weeks.

First is an Olive-sided Flycatcher (Contopus cooperi). This large  (7.5") flycatcher usually sits at the top of tall trees. He is IDed by the dark vest. Although he looks similar to an Eastern Kingbird, he doesn't have the white tip on the tail. I saw one of these the last 2 weekends at LaFitte's Cove in Galveston. Often, I don't see a single bird in a year.

Olive-sided Flycatcher
A favorite flycatcher of mine is the Great Crestyed Flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus). Of the 4 myiarchus species in the USA, this one is the brightest yellow. I knew thisa bird from childhood, as they nested in a bird house when I was growing up in Ottawa, Canada. There have been about a dozen in the last 2 weekends.

Great Crested Flycatcher - LaFitte's Cove
 And here is one from my backyard who caught a large grasshopper.

Great Crested Flycatcher
A common fall warbler is the Nashville Warbler (Vermivora ruficapilla). This was the first I have seen this fall at LaFitte's last Saturday. It is IDed by the gray head and yellow throat and underparts. The back is olive or green. It has a prominent white eye ring.

Nashville Warbler
This is also the first Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) I saw this fall. It is all yellow and olive except the male has a black cap.

Wilson's Warbler
Lots of Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) are also passing through. They tend to travel in small flocks and suddenly you will se 8-10 or more. Here is a fist fall male plumaged bird. This is the first photo of this plumage I have taken. The bright orange shows it is an oriole, and he lacks the any black on the head.

Baltimore Oriole - 1st fall male
The best bird so far this fall was this Chuck-will's-widow (Caprimulgus carolinensis). At 12" in length, this is our largest nightjar. These noctural birds, like owls, are tough to photograph as they aren't out during daylight hours. One can see them in migration as they tend to flush and fly off, when you approach them. You usually don't see them until they fly. I was fortunate to be standing at the drip at LaFitte's Cove when this bird flew in and perched abot 30 feet away on some low branches. This is only the third photograph I have ever taken of this bird, and by far the best. The diagnostic mark is the brown throat as well as the size.

Chuck-will's-widow - LaFitte's Cove, Galveston
Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2011 David McDonald

To have these trip reports sent to your email, please email me at the above address and ask for subscribe.

No comments: