Thursday, December 20, 2012

The American Mothmasher, The Good Vireo, and The Dixie Warbler


It is December, and I still am not done stoking/bumming people out (depending on your attitudes towards jealousy) on my October Dry Tortugas trip. Hopefully I'm throwing enough other birds in the blog cocktail to keep things interesting...anyways, although American Redstart is one of the most abundant North American warblers, you don't hear anyone complaining. No one doubts the face-melting power of an adult male.


Moths are a popular item for destruction by migrant passerines on Garden Key. They are often a bit big for warblers and vireos to immediately gulp down, so it was not infrequent to see birds brutally bashing them to bits to make them a more manageable size for consumption.






Never have I witnessed such an act of ruthless moth-bashing, but I have to give credit to the redstart for being effective. Next time I am faced with a piece of living food that is too big to swallow whole, I will simply hit it against things over and over again until is smaller.


Booby Brittany photographed this Philadelphia Vireo with a point and shoot. We walked right up to it. Like a dumbass, I did not have my camera on me for some reason. In case you are wondering, yellow vireos are good vireos. In fact, this is one of those species that is often on birders lists for having a crappy name (this is not a particularly common bird in Philly)...why not "Good Vireo"? No one doubts the instrinsic goodness of this uncommon, exceptionally positive bird.


Magnolia Warblers are best observed when on the ground, 10 feet in front of you. This is a bird that warms the heart.


Fort Jefferson. From the outside, looking in.


From the inside, looking out.


Indigo Bunting, probably a hatch year bird. It will be a long stretch of buntingless months before they start reoccupying the country in April.


Why hello Ovenbird. No, I don't mind you hopping around my feet like a goddamn House Sparrow, make yourself at home.


Prairie Warbler is another one of those misnamed birds, although "prairie" does have a nice ring to it. I propose it be rechristened Dixie Warbler. Now that really has a ring to it. Only saw 1 or 2 on Garden Key, although they must move through in big numbers.


One of the most unexpected birds I found on Garden Key was this American Coot. It takes a lot for a coot to make it to the hallowed pages of BB&B, but since this one had found itself in the middle of nowhere, that's good enough for me.

10 comments:

  1. I believe that is the best photo of an Ovenbird ever taken.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is good news, because I think I have some better ones.

      Delete
  2. Lake Merritt blew my mind. Such a cool place right in the city. Thanks for the heads up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you made it! And at the best time of year too.

      Delete
  3. The Ovenbird photo was indeed good but the caption really won my heart. As for why you did not have your camera- because duh you were not on a birding trip.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Love the Ovenbird photo!

    Yes, I am still drooling over the birds you saw on the Tortugas.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well hopefully any impending Costa Rican birds will not cause dehydration...I'm dehydrated just thinking about them, and I haven't even made it to the plane yet.

      Delete