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More Staring Out the Window

Thursday, August 2, 2012

At 12:10 the white-eyed vireo returns and
 moves to the arbor vitae, where he's spied something edible.

He gives the dead part of the shrub a hard look

and launches himself.

He nabs a small black caterpillar or beetle larva.

and strikes a final lovely pose at 12:12:01.

12:14. I check the brown thrashers to find them throwing big chunks of matted lawn clippings around, thrashing the asparagus and rhubarb bed.

I like the way brown thrasher and mockingbird siblings pal around long after they've fledged. They remind me of Phoebe and Liam, going everywhere as a unit all summer long.

The bolder, older one flies to the Bird Spa and takes a quick drink at 12:17.

The Spa is crowded. At 12:18, a Carolina chickadee attempts to bathe with two tufted titmice. It doesn't work out for the chickadee, but it does catch some nice spray.

At 12:20, a nondescript sparrow gets me briefly intrigued. I hope for a moment it's a Lincoln's, but that face, pallid as it is, looks all too familiar: juvenile song sparrow. Still, I'm glad to see it, because ours raised a brood of three in some ornamental grass over our septic system and were gone before the June rains were over. After singing every day all the late winter and spring, the birds simply quit the place. And not only that: all the song sparrows on our road did the same thing. I'm only just now seeing migrants coming through on post-breeding dispersal. If anyone knows where my SE Ohio song sparrows go after they raise their first clutch, please enlighten me!

This newly minted song sparrow is is sunbathing too. Everybody's doin' it.

  I'm just gathering myself from identifying the sparrow when a juvenile orchard oriole drops in to the perch by the Spa. If it lands on the bath, it will be species #70 to drink or bathe there. C'mon!! Do it!!

Practically every bird I've seen today is a juvenile. Only fitting that a Juvenal's duskywing should show up at 12:21 and get itself photographed. It's been 2 hours and 20 minutes since I picked up the camera, and I haven't put it down for more than five minutes. And I'm not done yet!

The madness continues on Sunday. Actually, it hasn't let up yet. For those of you interested in ageing and sexing birds by their feathers, scroll down and see the corrections in my last post (I Get Nothing Done...) Turns out that both of those hooded warblers were this year's babies--even the fully hooded male. Whew! You learn something every day. I hope Bob Mulvihill will keep looking and correcting--that's how we learn.

 My computer is gagging on all the photos, and I'm having the time of my life with this late summer migration. Good news is I've managed to beat my South Africa articles mostly into submission. And gathered a whole bunch of cool new images of fall migrants in the process.

photo by Sara Stratton. Yes, I'm working. The antler hanging over my lamp, a gift from my farmer/hunter/neighborbuddy Jeff, is for back scratching. The Buddha is for luck and prosperity. Come ON, Buddha. Kick it into gear. We have the luck thing going...


Love the vireo sequence.

I keep looking for that 'love' button. Now going to read the previous post again and the comments, then to look up the song sparrow plumages again....right after I finish the burd 2 of 12 done before being interrupted by facebook.
Kathy in Delray Beach

Posted by Anonymous August 2, 2012 at 7:47 AM

Dear Bird Photographer, you have a lovely vireo there!

I would like to add we have similar taste in decorating - referring to the photographs scotched taped to window frames and everywhere.

Pray tell, where will the SA article be appearing. I'd love to see it.

Wow--extra security on comment posting...the "prove you're not a robot" words to puzzle out and now all comments must be approved by the blog author.

Hey Donna! Sorry--I should have said that this rather massive article will be split into two parts for my column, True Nature, in Bird Watcher's Digest. There's a little banner on the right hand edge of the blog. When clicked, it leads to Bird Watcher's Digest's web site. We're having a two for one subscription sale right now, in fact, two years for only $19.95, an amount which most of us spend without even thinking about it, but that would get you twelve issues of BWD and a whole lot of Zick, too. Thanks for the nudge. BWD could use your help!! And as far as the extra security, I know it's a pain, and I can never read the durn numbers, but it's that or we share our comments living room with male enlargement advocates, home loans, hair restorers and World of Warcraft shizz. Seems to be working quite well.


(You have no idea how tempted I am to pitch male enlargement products, home loans, hair restoration along with my subscription. But I will eschew any such foolishness.)

Aw, that's wonderful, Donna! Thank you so much!
I'm going to make a more formal pitch for subscribers in an upcoming post. It's past time. I've had that little banner on my blog for several years and I suspect it just fades into the background. I need to learn to bring things to people's attention more often.
Thanks for the nudge.

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