Saturday, October 29, 2016

The Cormorants; Random Lake Scenes

Photos during bird-watching yesterday: A total of six double-crested cormorants were on Lake Kittamaqundi. They should be migrating south soon.

Double-crested: the "default species" of cormorant for this location. The double crests are visible on the heads of adults during the March-May breeding season. Larger, all-black individuals are adults. The birds with the buff-colored fronts are younger.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ruddy Ducks in the Rain

Migrating ruddy ducks started appearing on the local lakes last week, and a group of three showed up on Lake Kittamaqundi last weekend. Two more ruddies have joined them since then. There are four adult males and one adult female or immature, the latter being the latest to arrive and the one on the left end in the above photo taken today at the south end of the lake. Before today, they were spending most of their time near the lakefront and the central section. They are diving ducks, so when they are feeding you will see them popping in and out of sight on the water. As the photo shows, they seem to like resting all at the same time close together, their tail feathers typically sticking up.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Lake Scenes; More Warblers and a Brown Thrasher -- new species at Lake Kittamaqundi

The fall warbler parade continued at the lake this week with a couple of species new for me: a black-throated green warbler and a Cape May warbler. This was the first documentation of Cape May warbler on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird for the Lake Kittamaqundi hotspot. Another new species for the hotspot -- on the same date and in the same area by the lake -- was brown thrasher. I've seen thrashers before, but this was my first sighting at this location. It's a larger member of the mockingbird and catbird family, and it's always a fantastic bird to see. All three birds in this post were found along the shore by the Sheraton Hotel and the neighboring office building. Photos follow.

Black-throated Green Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Cape May Warbler

Brown Thrasher

Brown Thrasher

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Grassy Splendour; Sparrows, Warblers, Kinglets, Bluebirds

Here are some of the small songbirds which showed up around Lake Kittamaqundi over the past week. The warblers and kinglets are passing through on fall migration. Song sparrows are summer residents, but after an absence of the species for a few weeks, I'm guessing that the ones seen recently are part of a wave passing through from further north. White-throated sparrows arrived at the lake, signalling the coming of winter. (The photo above shows some of the pink muhly grass now blooming in plantings along the lake's east shore.)

Song Sparrow

Blackpoll Warbler

Golden-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglet: The ruby crown isn't always visible, but I think the tip of it can be seen on this bird. Both kinglet species were in the trees and bushes along the shore by the Sheraton Hotel and the neighboring office building.

Eastern Bluebird

White-throated Sparrow

Yellow-rumped Warbler

Tennessee Warbler

Palm Warbler

Magnolia Warbler, earlier this month in a wooded area near the lake

Friday, October 7, 2016

Centennial Scene

Centennial Lake with a kayaker last Monday

Monarch butterflies were stopping here during migration. I also spotted a torn and faded tiger swallowtail, a certain sign that summer has given way to fall. Among birds, I caught sight of a yellow-billed cuckoo, also pictured here.