Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bulletin #153 - Spring migration #2

We have not had a fallout this year so far and the weather suggests it will be unlikely in the next week or so. Birding has been rather slow everywhere on the coast from what I can read on Texbirds.

Still, a few birds can lead to some good photos. This weekend has seen an influx of the more sought after beauties, but few warbler species.

The perennial favorite of all is the Painted Bunting (Passerina ciris). The gaudy male is unmistakable with his red breast, blue head and yellow-green back. This bird came to the drip at LaFitte's Cove and perched on a snag by the pond for his photo to everyone's delight.

Painted Bunting - male
Of interest, I noted the green feathers between the eye and bill. I had not noticed this before, but when I checked my other photos of this bird, they all have it. It is amazing how we can miss a curiosity like this.

He got down into the drip and took a bath as we all clicked away. This photo has his feathers on his head standing up and his head in a reflection. What a great bird! These were my best photos ever of this species.

Painted Bunting - male

Another favorite of mine is the Scarlet Tanager (Piranga olivacea). Last year I read and told you that the piranga genus of tanagers were going to be moved to the cardinal family. Apparently it hasn't happened yet. The male is red with black wings and tail. It has been a hard bird for me to get a good photo as usually when he is in the sun, the photos ar overexposed on the back and head in the sun. This bird was low down in some shrubs eating a berry. the time was 6:30pm, so no sun and a perfect exposure using flash. I like the photos with the bird doing something..eating, singing etc.

Scarlet Tanager - male breeding
Here is another photo a minute later in another pose with a half-eaten berry.

Scarlet Tanager - male breeding
The black, red, and white male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (Pheucticus ludovicianus) is an easy ID.

Rose-breasted Grosbeak - male breeding
Baltimore Orioles (Icterus galbula) have always been a difficult bird for me to photograph as they tend to perch near the treetops. This one at least was in a bare tree. The breeding male with black head, black wings with white bars, black tail and orange body is stunning.

Baltimore Oriole - male breeding
The best warbler for the weekend was this Magnolia Warbler (Setophaga magnolia). Notice the genus change from dendroica as I mentioned in the last bulletin, all the warblers have been renamed and reordered. The yellow beast with black streaks, gray head and back, and black face ID this bird.

Magnolia Warbler - male breeding
The female American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) is gray with yellow wing and tail patches.

American Redstart - female

The male Yellow Warbler (Setophaga petechia)is all yellow with red streaks on the breast. The female lacks the streaks.

Yellow Warbler - male
 Happy birding and photography,

David McDonald

photos copyright 2012 David McDonald

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