Champions of the Flyway!

Friday, June 26, 2015

Mass, USA - June 2015: American Redstarts

Happily omnipresent in the woodland around the house and along the telegraph track, easily given away by their distinctive song; getting decent shots of them was another thing entirely however, and adult males managed to give the lens the body-swerve entirely.... still, a few young males and females were a little more accommodating.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mass, USA - June 2015: patch passerines

Field Sparrow
Indigo Bunting
The patch in question being a particularly productive spot about 20 mins walk along a woodland-shaded road from the house, and consisting of no more than a couple of hundred metres of woodland glade-type habitat beneath the gentle buzz of two parallel rows of electricity pylons. Not nearly as unattractive as it might sound, with mixed scrub and boggy vegetation easily accessed thanks to a newly carved rubble track up and down the slopes beneath the pylons, which (crucially) provided a tick and poison-ivy free corridor into quality birding.

Male Scarlet Tanager
A few visits of several hours each (from dawn, back in time for breakfast) were a huge and largely very peaceful pleasure, and provided a fine roll-call of species to enjoy. Those pictured here are a random selection of passerines, and exclude the warblers, which do indeed deserve their own dedicated posts (to follow anon).

Female Eastern Towhee
Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Song Sparrow
Great Crested Flycatcher
Cedar Waxwing

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mass, USA - June 2015: Yellowthroats

As usual the intention is to combine multiple species into each post from the Massachusetts trip, but in the case of a few - especially warblers - it seems a shame not to let them have their own individual fifteen minutes... just the case with these Yellowthroats, a common and strikingly beautiful songbird of damp, scrubby areas close to the homestead. Being aesthetically super sharp as well as especially noisy, characterful, and unwaveringly susceptible to pishing, they're one of my favourite 'local' passerines. Be warned, there's a lot more yellow to come....

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Mass, USA - June 2015 (part one)

Ruby-throated Hummingbird - always a joy, often ambivalent and sometimes happy to feed within touching distance
Eastern Bluebird - a regular at the feeders
Fresh off the plane after a hugely enjoyable fortnight with my American family in rural western Massachusetts. The trip was happily all about the family, and revolved around the wedding of brother Ned and sister Anna (technically in-laws, but that frankly undersells them both); hence, birding opportunities largely consisted of leisurely little-and-often scouts around the garden, and occasional sessions at favoured spots within walking distance of the homestead.

Male Cardinal (and American Goldfinch)
Habitat-wise, it was all about woodland, and while the time of year and density of foliage limited the number of species on show, there was of course plenty to enjoy. More to follow over the coming days, including plenty of warblers, when I get the chance to edit more photos; for now, a few colourful garden regulars to get the ball rolling.

Grey Catbird - omnipresent, tame and breeding in the garden (hence mouthful of babyfood)
Cedar Waxwing - perhaps the most abundant species locally, and also breeding in the garden

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Welcome to the Jungle

Another one I prepared earlier, this one at the beginning of the month back on the patch: plenty of fledglings just out of the nest and into the big bad world, including Long-tailed Tits, Coot, Mallard, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Skylark and Meadow Pipit.

Back home tomorrow with a memory card full of Americans - be warned....

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Swans of Love and Hate

Presently still a long way from the patch and with erratic internet access only, and so here's one I made earlier (about ten days ago). A pair of amorous and increasingly defensive Mute Swans have been kicking around East Lea and the Dams for a while now, and although there's no sign of nest building or breeding, their reaction to a brief intruder - a red colour-ringed bird for which we still await details - spoke volumes. Love and hate indeed.