Friday, May 6, 2011

Tennessee Warbler and Orchard Oriole!

Yes, both.
Two fantastic new birds for West Campus today at lunchtime.
F-a-n-t-a-s-t-i-c new birds.
Especially the warbler!

The Tennessee Warbler (Oreothlypis peregrina) is a little green, gray and white beauty, with a delicate pale eyeline and thin pointy bill. It is pretty uncommon in Connecticut, so Lynn and I were REALLY excited to find it, and have good views at that.
I did a quick google image search and found one photo to share. It's on Jan Axel's blog - Jan is a birder in Panama - he doesn't say whether the image is his or not, but please take a minute to follow the link, the third bird down the page.
Reading other people's descriptions of this bird, I notice the word drab a lot - the bird we saw was anything but drab. So, I searched images carefully to find one that showed the plumage in the way we observed it.

Now the Orchard Oriole (Icterus spurius), the smaller and less-conspicuous cousin of our common Baltimore Oriole. This bird surprised me last year, because I didn't know that the adult male takes two years to reach its ultimate breeding plumage of rich chestnut and black. The first year male is yellow, with a black face and bib.
The bird Lynn and I saw today was one of these first-year males, and I recognized it only because I had such a difficult time puzzling it out when I first saw it last year.

one of many ornamental flowering crab-apple trees on campus

Many of these neotropical migrants are feeding in the flowering trees right now. They love the apple blossoms - I think they're plucking the stamens right out and eating them whole. I understand pollen is a pretty good source of protein.

Okay, guess I have to stop gushing and get around to posting the week's list:
May 2-6, 2011

Double-crested Cormorant, fly-over
Wild Turkey
Canada Goose
Common Merganser, fly-over
Herring Gull
Ring-billed Gull
Red-tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker
Red-bellied Woodpecker

Mourning Dove
Rock Pigeon
American Crow
Blue Jay
American Robin
Grey Catbird
European Starling
Barn Swallow
Tree Swallow
Red-eyed Vireo

Warbling Vireo
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Black-capped Chickadee
House Wren
Tennessee Warbler, Oreothlypis peregrina
Blue-winged Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Northern Parula
American Redstart

Common Yellowthroat
Northern Cardinal
White-throated Sparrow
Song Sparrow
House Finch
American Goldfinch
Brown-headed Cowbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Common Grackle
Baltimore Oriole

Orchard Oriole, Icterus spurius
House Sparrow

Forty two species for the week, with some regulars missing (no chipping sparrow, no downy woodpecker, no fish crow)
But, hey, did I tell you? We saw a TENNESSEE WARBLER today!!!

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