Sunday, October 12, 2014

Afternoon at Berry Springs Park

On reports of a sighting of a Great Kiskadee at Berry Springs Park in Georgetown earlier in the week, we went today for a late morning of birding.  No luck seeing the Kiskadee, but saw a number of birds, including:
  • House Finch
  • Northern Cardinal
  • Black-crested Titmouse
  • Carolina Chickadee
  • Eastern Bluebird
  • Blue-headed Vireo
  • Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
  • Eastern Phoebe
  • Lesser Goldfinch
  • Orange-crowned Warbler
  • Nashville Warbler
  • Yellow Shafted Northern Flicker
  • Downy Woodpecker
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker
  • Red-shouldered Hawk
  • Great Blue Heron
  • Turkey Vulture
  • European Starling
  • Great-tailed Grackle
In addition, we saw several dozen Monarch Butterflies. The fall migration has apparently reached our area. We spotted a few on our nightly walk as well. None on our milkweed plants yet.

The Blue-headed Vireo was a new species for us. I thought I was seeing another White-eyed Vireo until I looked at the pictures and noted that the spectacles were white. Looking closely, the head is dusky blue rather than olive and there is no hint of a light iris. The very similar looking Plumbeous Vireo is out of range for this location and the Cassin's Vireo would be rare.This bird also has a rather sharp contrast between the throat and auriculars, consistent with the blue-headed.

ISO-800, 400mm, f/6.3, 1/3200 sec, FEC -1 2/3
In the same section of trail as the vireo, we saw a number of small warblers flitting along in the low brush. This one that Danielle managed to capture, we believe is a first winter Orange-crowned Warbler. It has a white split eyering with dark eyeline. It also has a yellow undertail coverts.  The Nashville Warbler we were less certain of and did not get a clear picture.

ISO-500, 215mm, f/6.5, 1/160 (Danielle)

There were many Scissor-tailed Flycatchers in the park, in greater concentration than we have seen before. Danielle was in a better spot to see them and got this nice photo showing the full extent of the tail. Amazing these birds can fly at all, never mind be agile enough to snatch airborne insects.

ISO-80, 215mm, f/6.5, 1/250 (Danielle)
Berry Springs is one of the few places I have seen Eastern Bluebirds - they seem to be a regular sight at the park and were again today. In the right image, a bluebird perches in a group of house finches.

ISO-800, 400mm, f/6.3, 1/250, EC +0.7, FEC -1 2/3

As usual in the park, we saw many Red-bellied Woodpeckers and a few Downy Woodpeckers. The Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker was more of a surprise. We saw both a male and female and Danielle took these images. The male on the right shows a red nape, which is only present in the yellow-shafted variety.

ISO-80, 215mm, f/6.5, 1/640 (Danielle)
Danielle also saw this Red-shouldered Hawk which I missed completely.

ISO-80, 215mm, f/6.5, 1/250 (Danielle)
I managed to get a nice pose of a Goldfinch taking flight. Cool how the feathers are translucent enough to see the shadow of the branch behind them.

ISO-800, 400mm, f/6.3, 1/5000, EC +0.1, FEC -1 2/3

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