Monday, December 29, 2014

Changing Vermilion Flycatchers

On our way out to New Mexico, we visited Lake Balmorhea late on the afternoon of  Dec 19. After a long and fruitless slog through the mud looking for a way to access the waterfront along the south part of the lake, I ran into a Vermilion Flycatcher hunting for insects near the lake side. It took me a while in the bird guide to figure out what it was as this was not the adult male plumage of red and black that I expected. This was my first good observation of this species, in any plumage.

It is not certain to me whether this bird is a female or juvenile male but I had assumed the later.

The next day, we went back to the lake but this time figured out how to get to the water front along the drive that approaches the lake from the northwest corner. The sluice draining into the lake is a great place to bird.

We saw several more flycatchers hunting in this location. Again, I don't know if this is a female or juvenile male; there seems to be quite a bit of breast mottling for a female.

On our way back from New Mexico, ten days later we stopped again. The flycatchers we saw this time had different plumage having much more red on the breast and very evident crown of red mottled feathers. These seem much more likely to be juvenile males molting into adult plumage. It gives further suggestion that some of the earlier birds were also juvenile males.

I am still puzzled by why we saw no adult male flycatchers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Relevant comments and questions are welcome but submissions with spam-links will not be published.