Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wave of Migrants

Took a quick break from raptor banding to see what kinds of fall passerine migrants might be moving through. What a day - 49 birds and 10 species! Kept us hopping to make sure we checked nets, banded birds, and interpreted to the public.

Do you think this Eastern Phoebe is a Klingon fan?

This White-throated Sparrow is always a favorite of mine. They are only in town on their way through north and then heading south again.

We had a couple of interesting Juncos today. We will in most cases call the Juncos that come through Slate-colored Juncos. However, we might get a couple of interesting sub species. If you look closely at the first two photos (same bird), you can see some white edging on the coverts. There are also some white feathers around the eye. These two attribures seem to indicate at least a cross-back somewhere in the bird's geneology of White-winged Junco. From the Birds of North America, "Until the 1970s, the currently recognized Dark-eyed Junco was split into 5 distinct species, 3 of them comprising 2 or more subspecies. The American Ornithologists’ Union (1973, 1982) lumped these 5 species but acknowledged the distinctiveness of the former species by designating them and their subspecies as informal “groups” of Junco hyemalis . Each group bears the scientific and vernacular name that it previously bore as a species: hyemalis (Slate-colored Junco); aikeni (White-winged Junco); oreganus (Oregon Junco); caniceps (Gray-headed Junco); and insularis (Guadalupe Junco)."

This other Junco does not have white feathers around the eye, but it does have some white edging, so there is again a possibility of White-wing somewhere in the background.

Can't beat this power of cute, huh? Ruby-crowned Kinglets abounded today. It is sometimes hard to see how they got their name. The males have this surprising little tuft of bright feathers that you only see if they choose to raise the feathers over them.

We were pretty excited about a Golden-crowned Kinglet that we got today. They are quite small - here is a photo of Ben the bander taking a tail measurement while holding the bird carefully in his hand.

What a handsome bird!

It was pretty neat to get this comparison shot - two female Kinglets of two species - Golden-crowned and Ruby-crowned!

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