Saturday, July 4, 2015

Early Morning Bird Walk

Birding with Friends

Red-winged Blackbird
Two friends and I went early morning birding to Wilkins Field, which is in Fredericton North.  It is a lush area of floodplain with grasses, alders, ephemeral ponds, permanent ponds, and marsh.  With all these diverse habitats, there are usually many birds present.  

The Red-winged Blackbirds are ever-present.  They can be heard and seen from any vantage point.  This male was actively proclaiming his territory and telling us to beware.   Note the bright red epaulettes bordered with yellow.  When he flies he flashes these.  To us they look beautiful but to birds they probably look intimidating.

Cedar Waxwing
The Cedar Waxwings were present in small flocks, actively feeding on insects.  We saw some young which were out of the nest and being fed by adults.  Their high-pitched whistle/song was very evident.

Belted Kingfisher
There was at least one pair of Belted Kingfishers there.  The male above often perched in a prominent place and 'rattled' at us.  His song is a rattling noise, reminding some of the noise a fishing reel makes when line is pulled out.  This species is a bit different in that the female has the bright colours and the male is subdued.  This is because the male sits on the eggs in this species and thus the nest location is protected by the subdued plumage.  The female has a bright orange band across her breast.  The Kingfisher dives for fish which it observes from an elevated perch.

We found this beautiful feather lying on the ground, dropped by some flying bird.  The iridescence was striking.  We guessed that it came from a Common Grackle.  The iridescence is typical and it is probably a tail feather.  Note that the shaft is located in the middle of the feather.  A wing feather would have the shaft offset with more 'feather' on one side than the other.

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