Sunday, August 29, 2010

Even More Birds in Flight

This morning I found 59 species in the yard, including Olive-sided Flycatcher and ten warbler species.

American Robins are an abundant migrant in the fall. The flight pattern and the orange-red breast are distinctive.

As I discussed yesterday, Eastern Kingbirds are abundant fall migrants. The neat thing about kingbirds is that they can be aged and, if an adult, sexed. The way to tell is by primaries 9 and 10, the "top" two feathers on the wingtips. In young birds, these feathers are blunt. In adult females, these feathers have a slight notch at the tip. In adult males, like the one above, the tips of these feathers are deeply notched.

Flycatchers can sometimes be trick to identify when they are sitting. In flight they can be very difficult. This flycatcher shows broad white wing bars and no distinct eye-ring. Those characteristics, as well as the fact that it sang a "whisper song" while flying, make this an Eastern Wood-Pewee.

Red-breasted Nuthatches have been very common migrants this year. I almost missed this one as it flew south over the yard. This species is fairly easy to identify in flight due to the distinctive pattern and the fact that they often call while flying.

Although out of focus, this photo shows a common behavior of warblers that fly overhead. These two Black-throated Green Warblers spent a few seconds diving at and chasing eachother. The yellow-green body and tail pattern help the identification. I also heard a chip note as I was taking the photo.

This bird called as it flew over, but I was unfamiliar with the call. Although the photo seems useless, it reveals the identity of the bird. This bird shows distinct striping down the side of the bird. Also, the front of the bird is brighter than the back. Finally, the pattern on the underside of the tail is visible. These characteristics make this a Cape May Warbler.

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