Saturday, April 11, 2009

Mountain Bluebird and Red-headed Woodpecker

 Earlier in the week a Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) was found outside of Oak Openings Metropark in a field at Sager and Wilkins roads at the western edge of the Toledo Airport.  I went to see the bird this morning.  As I drove up, many cars were already parked at the edge of the road.  The bird was perching on and hunting from the airport fence.  I tried to digiscope the bird with my new camera.

Here's my absolutely dreadful digiscoped photo of the Mountain Bluebird.  Poor guy - he deserves better than this.  Fortunately many others did take beautiful photos.

Birder and photographer Darlene Friedman of Novi, Michigan took this spectacular photograph on April 9, 2009.  Photo used with Darlene's permission.

An Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) showed up in the same field and the two bluebirds tussled a couple of times.  I watched the Mountain Bluebird, a very beautiful bird, for about fifteen minutes before leaving to go explore Oak Openings.  Sparrows are starting to show up; Field (Spizella pusilla) and Chipping (Spizella passerina) were around in good numbers.  An Eastern Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) was singing.  It was too early for Lark Sparrows (Chondestes grammacus).  I thought that perhaps the same west wind that blew the Mountain Bluebird over may have also brought an early Lark Sparrow along.  Vesper Sparrows (Pooecetes gramineus) were heard in a couple of areas and Fox Sparrows (Passerella iliaca) were singing.  Pine Siskens (Carduelis pinus) are in the park, so they may be nesting there.   A male Purple Finch (Carpodacus purpureus) was at the park feeders.  It was nice to see a Red-headed Woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus) in their traditional location inside the park.

I took about a dozen photos and all be the two here were out of focus. The red border on the upper edge of the white wing patch is light and angle artifact.

To return home I had to drive by Sager and Wilkins roads again.  Still a lot of cars around and people with scopes and cameras.  However, apparently the bird had disappeared, at least for the moment.   Perhaps it had gone further into the airport field.  The Mountain Bluebird was a life bird for me.

New spring growth on the Oak Openings forest floor.

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