Friday, June 11, 2010

June - sun and rain

This was a perfectly perfect June week - bright sun, breezy, cloudy, showery - all with very pleasant temperatures. And... we had two new birds at West Campus - both perhaps attracted to our new grassland habitat.

Seems like the groundskeepers have decided to let the grass grow on the slopes near our building - which is wonderful, because this is where we've always seen sparrows, and even the Meadowlark last fall. Clearly it's a tricky area to mow, so it's now growing free, with many grasses, flowering legumes and composites, in purples, yellows and whites. This has attracted insects and the birds who feed on them, which leads us to both of our new birds for the week.

Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus, photo: S. Hochgraf

After a stormy Tuesday night, Wednesday morning was overcast and gray, but the air was warm and still. Lynn and Nate saw the Eastern Kingbird and called me over to have a look, and shortly after, I was distracted by another calling flycatcher. Fitz bew -- fitz bew -- fitz bew -- over and over again, so I knew it wasn't the local Mockingbird.

The Willow Flycatcher is more easily identified by this call than by other field marks. At lunchtime Lynn managed to get a photo, which when enlarged indeed showed a little Empidonax flycatcher. Both birds have been around for several days now.

Birds for the week of June 7-11:

Wild Turkey
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
American Egret
Rock Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Northern Flicker

Wild Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, photo S. Hochgraf

Downy Woodpecker
Eastern Kingbird, Tyrannus tyrannus
Willow Flycatcher, Empidonax traillii

Blue Jay
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
House Wren
Cedar Waxwing

European Starling
American Robin
Black-capped Chickadee
Northern Mockingbird
Gray Catbird
Northern Cardinal
Song Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Yellow Warbler
Common Yellowthroat

Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
American Goldfinch
House Finch
House Sparrow

Thirty six species for the week. And here's a short video clip of our grasses waving in the June breezes.

Game two of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa is about to begin - Uruguay vs France. Mexico and South Africa played to a 1-1 draw this morning. A full month of "the beautiful game" is ahead, until the championship game, July 11th. You can cheer for team USA against England on Saturday June 12th at 2:30pm EST. Watch it online ESPN-3 or on cable TV.

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