Sunday, April 24, 2016

Spring at Magee Marsh redux

The temps at Magee Marsh yesterday were actually more comfortable for the human visitors than the week before.  And it was just as sunny. But the north wind must have held some of the avian travelers south.  

On my drive in, this female red-winged blackbird perched along the entrance road in perfect light.  I am disappointed the photo is not sharper, but I am struck by the beauty of this much overlooked bird.

Egrets increased their numbers; so did great blue herons.

The black-capped chickadee gave me a second chance to improve the photos that I flubbed last week.  With perfect light I did a little better this week.  Above and below:  The bird in and paused at the cavity.

Tiny flecks of tree dust in the feathers around the beak can be seen. 

Front view of the female Eastern towhee reveals her beautiful, richly-colored breast feathers.  Another bird that is easily overlooked; perhaps because towhees nest deep in scrubby areas and we don't see the female as often.  Still have not seen a male towhee this year.

Golden-crowned kinglets, winter wrens, brown creepers, fox sparrows and hermit thrushes had all moved out during the week.  Good numbers of yellow-rumped warblers had moved in to take their place. The males were singing and in the absence of other bird song I could hear the yellow-rumped song in isolation and hopefully put it to memory.  The thing is, it's just sort of a generic trilling with buzzy sounds at the beginning and end - not really that memorable.

Yellow-rumped taking off.

A pine warbler made itself very visible actively feeding along the branches and newly emerging tiny leaves of a large tree that seemed to also have many insects.

Caught in shade and sun, the Pine Warbler catching an insect.

I took many photos of this bird and the three shown here were the best. I think this is the first time I have ever had a chance to take photos of the pine warbler.

Palm warblers had moved in and this bird was hoping around in a low tree just at the edge of the board walk.

Above and below:  Looking at these photos you would be forgiven if you thought birds did not have beaks.

Gadwalls, shovelers and green-winged teal had moved out, but blue-winged teal will stay behind to nest.  This pair was resting on a muskrat home.

I almost ignored this guy thinking it was a muskrat, but it showed its fat, rudder-like tail.  Super exciting to see a beaver in the water along the eastern side of the entry road. 

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