Monday, July 21, 2014

Red-headed Woodpecker with Fledgling at Lake Park

I'm happy to report that a pair of Red-headed Woodpeckers successfully produced at least one fledgling this year at Lake Park on Milwaukee's East Side. This morning, I viewed the fledgling and one adult. The photos were captured during that time. Enjoy! :)

The adult with prey.

Right after the adult fed the fledgling.

A closer look at the adult.
A closer look at the fledgling.

The adult taking a break.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Estabrook Park Fledglings

I visited Milwaukee's Estabrook Park on Thursday, July 3, primarily to photograph dragonflies. However, I was pleasantly surprised when I noticed all of the fledgling birds vocalizing and being fed by parents.

The species that I saw and heard included Cedar Waxwings, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Red-eyed Vireos, Black-capped Chickadees, Gray Catbirds, Eastern Bluebirds and the birds that are pictured below. I also noticed at least four adult male Northern Cardinals flying around, and one female, but I didn't see any juveniles. Sadly, no herons were present along the lagoon, either. Still, it was an enjoyable time spent in the sultry heat.

Juvenile Crow that wanted to be fed. Its parents did not accommodate it; instead, they encouraged it to keep flying.

Another photo of the begging crow.

A juvenile Common Grackle, looking comically fierce.

The same young grackle.

Fledgling House Finch about to be fed by its pops.

The same two House Finches.

One of at least four (to perhaps six) fledgling Baltimore Orioles that I saw. There were probably two broods present.

Contemplative oriole fledlging.

An adult male oriole feeds one of the fledglings.

This oriole fledgling took initiative and tried to feed itself.

Gorgeous adult male Baltimore Oriole.

I believe that this is an adult male as well, but I can't be certain.

Three fledglings posed on this tree for me.

Maybe a fledgling, maybe a first year adult.

Fanning its tail and looking sassy.

More feeding action.

Preening Baltimore Oriole.

Posing for me.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Tree Swallow Bullies Red-headed Woodpecker at Schlitz Audubon

Watching feeder birds at nature centers is always enjoyable. Sometimes, birders can see "rarer" birds up close. At Schlitz Audubon in Milwaukee County, Carolina Wrens and Red-headed Woodpeckers occasionally make appearances at the feeders.

This afternoon, I watched a male Tree Swallow aggressively chase a Red-headed Woodpecker off of a peanut feeder. Barn Swallows nest in the rafters of the building, and apparently a Tree Swallow pair shacked up in one of the new nest boxes that were placed in the same area as the feeders. The Tree Swallow did not harass any of the other feeder birds, which included a Red-breasted Nuthatch, chickadees, House Sparrows, etc. Something about the Red-headed Woodpecker set it off.

The first time, I didn't capture the action. I think I was in shock!

The second time, I was ready.

For a maybe a minute, the woodpecker enjoyed a snack.
Quickly, the Tree Swallow began whizzing closely to the woodpecker, trying to hint that the larger bird should get lost.

The woodpecker became perplexed but didn't immediately leave.

The Tree Swallow made another attempt to rid its area of the perceived intruder.

If birds think, "What the heck?!" surely the woodpecker was after the second swipe.
The woodpecker stood its ground during repeated attacks... until the Tree Swallow became nearly violent.
The woodpecker had enough.

The woodpecker retreated. 

I had a feeling that the lovely Red-headed Woodpecker wouldn't be back for awhile. Who knows if I was right. I could not help but feel badly for it. Their numbers aren't great; they don't need to be beaten up on Tree Swallows when trying to feed! I wonder why the Tree Swallow only went after the woodpecker--size? coloration? Perhaps there's no rational explanation, as is often the case in nature. An interesting experience, at least!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

WE Energies Grassland

Canada Warbler
The WE Energies Grassland is a birding hotspot just minutes from my home. I only found out about it a year or so ago. It attracts a variety of species, including prairie birds like Eastern Meadowlarks and sometimes Dickcissels.

Upon arrival, I checked a tree clump near a path that leads up to an embankment and was surprised to see and hear a male Mourning Warbler. Along with him were a Canada Warbler, Wilson's, Chesnut-sided, a few redstarts, and Common Yellowthroat female. Eastern Wood-Peewees sang, as did Red-eyed Vireos. A few Catbirds and gnatcatchers came out to show off as well.

 After I left the tree clump, I headed toward the prairie in hopes of finding a Dickcissel or rarer sparrow. I found neither, but enjoyed watching a pair of Eastern Kingbirds that perched low and allowed close views. I was standing on the side of one of the birds when it opened its beak quite wide. I thought that it was really going to start belting out a song. But it didn't. Instead, it coughed up a solid, roundish object. It reminded me of an owl coughing up a pellet! Do kingbirds expel pellets?

 WIDE OPEN...then....
 HACK! What the HECK is that?!
 Sitting calmly after relieving itself.

 Savannah Sparrows flew and sang, too. One perched on a pole that said HOT LINE, making for a cute photo opp.
 He knows he is hot, so he sings!
One of the kingbirds showed that it was a hottie, too.

Amidst the sparrow and kingbird action, I heard one or two Meadowlarks calling and singing. Sometimes one perched on a wire; other times, it sat low in the grass, making peent-like sounds.
A little while later, a pair of Turkey Vultures circled overhead, quite low. A Blue-gray Gnatcatcher flew into a nest high above me, and I saw a pair of Baltimore Orioles mating! In just over an hour, I witnessed all of this activity--time well spent!
Turkey Vulture
Eastern Meadowlark in flight
Male Baltimore Oriole not long after mating.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Robins--one hungry and one learning to fly!

During spring migration, most birders are focused on warblers, but we shouldn't overlook our year-round residents because we might miss out on watching one find a meal or learn to fly! I watched the adult robin dig up and gorge on a worm at Warnimont Park and I watched the fledgling in my back yard!

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