College Town, Week Eight Pics

I've been posting the week's pictures on Saturdays, I know, but that is unlikely to happen tomorrow, as I'm close to wrapping up my adventures in Ithaca and moving on to new horizons. Today was my last day of interning at Living Bird, though I do have one remaining field trip (to Arnot Forest) with my Spring Field Ornithology class tomorrow. But tomorrow evening, my lovely wife and my parents will arrive in town for a couple of days' vacation, and I suspect I'll be too busy to get anything posted for a while.

In the meantime, let's catch up:

100_4292.JPGYes, as a matter of fact, it WAS a gorgeous week of weather at Sapsucker Woods. Temperatures were in the high sixties or low seventies, skies were mostly clear, and the joint was FULL of spring migrants.

100_4295.JPGHere, for example, is a recently-returned House Wren in full song--which is perhaps a bit less skull-crunching than the Carolina Wren's, but a good deal more complex.

100_4296.JPGOddly, the foliage around the Lab looks kind of autumnal--must be all the maples or something. But the herons are still blue.

100_4302.JPGOther things are blue, too--such as the wings of this Blue-winged Warbler, only the second such bird I've ever seen, which swooped down to the edge of the creek going under the pedestrian bridge on which I was standing and gave himself a thorough wetting down.

100_4304.JPGAt this point, the warbler was less than six feet from the edge of the bridge, so he was probably about nine feet from my camera, and he stayed there long enough for me to take over a dozen pictures (most of which I'll spare you) of his bath.

100_4312.JPGThen it was on to the drying stage, at which point he hopped up into the bush directly beside the bridge's rail and went to work preening, no doubt making sure every last parasite was removed from his feathers. At this point he was no more than SIX feet away, demonstrating that he was as unafraid as he was flexible.

100_4318.JPGNot every interesting thing in Sapsucker Woods is a bird.

100_4322.JPGOne more look at Whitey, the very-pale-underneath Red-tailed Hawk who lives near the Lab. This afternoon I found him, as I have on more than one occasion, hunting down below the canopy of the trees, which is a bit unusual for a red-tail. He seems to be okay using the wide paths of Sapsucker Woods instead of the open fields and edges that most of his species seem to favor. Points for adaptability.

I'm not sure what it is, but I know it's not in full bloom yet, and I don't care.

100_4328.JPGMy going-away present from Sapsucker Woods: life bird number 380, a Swainson's Thrush. Mind you, it took some work. I never got very close, never got a clear look at its chest (getting only a vague impression of spots), and could see only a bit of buff near the eye. Still, I knew it wasn't a Wood or Hermit Thrush, both of which I see annually, and the spotting was too dark for a Veery. That didn't leave a lot of candidates, but I was at least able to get this picture, which I immediately took to an expert (see the advantage of birding near an ornithology lab?). Jessie Barry, who stars in the Lab's Inside Birding online video guide, and who just came back from helping the CLO's birding team, the Sapsuckers, break a one-day record in Texas with 265 species (!), was kind enough to take a look at the pic and immediately said "Swainson's," noting the heavy spotting and the amount of contrast on the head.

100_4225.JPGAnd with that, I leave the CLO for the moment, at least in my capacity as an intern. I'll be going back on Monday to give Kelly and the folks a tour of the place, and I've got at least two stories which are probably going to appear in the Fall 2011 and Winter 2012 issues (Join the Lab to get your subscription here!), but it's time now to leave it in the charge of its alert and omnipresent Branta canadensis corps, which as you can see here has just welcomed its newest recruits. Carry on, gentlefowl.

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This page contains a single entry by Peter Cashwell published on May 13, 2011 8:40 PM.

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