Saturday, May 16, 2009

Two...no Three Firsts - All in One Day

Well, I continue to be lazy with my bird watching here; have not even looked for a warbler or another sparrow. [sigh]

I've been too busy and besides... I met a friend. For all his gruff nature and ol' rancher qualities...the man is a sweetheart. Hard to believe such a man who can talk so rough also teaches cake decorating at the local 4-H. Go figure. But then...I like odd ducks. He's smart as a whip but talks like a cowboy (oh, and he insists he is NOT a cowboy; while he has horses, he doesn't ride 'em anymore.) Okay, perhaps a sailor is more like how he talks. Lordy that man can cuss! Anyway, for an old man (he's 61; keep in mind I'm 60), he acts like he's 40...and I like that in a man. This could be fun! But as I said, bird watching has fallen to the back burner...

About bird watching, though...this morning I think I saw the first Western Tanager of the season...always a treat! I spent a good amount of time mowing this morning...so the birds are somewhat skittish. Saw no Rose-breasted beauties, but the Black-headed and Evening Grosbeaks abound.

This Tanager enjoys the oranges and grape jelly I put out...as well as home-made suit. I've done a bit of research and have some of my own photos; read some facinating information about the red on this red-headed bird on a previous post here.

Hummers are here in increasing numbers; still have yet to see a Rufus or a Calliope, though. It is a bit early, me thinks.

[A few hours later...]

OMG, I just saw my first-ever Indigo Bunting! Sure, I thought I might have seen one several days ago...but I didn't get a good look; just an intense blue smear. Today, I watched the little, very blue, blue bird go from a feeder to the grass to a branch; offering me splendid looks at his beautiful self. WOW

It is no wonder they sometimes cross-breed with Lazuli Buntings; they are nearly the same size (Indigo is a tiny bit smaller) as their cousins and have the same, smudgy, dark-eyes. Clearly they have similar backgrounds. This one is all-over blue; darker than a new pair of good Levis...with a hint of black on the wingtips.

Indigo Buntings are actually black; the diffraction of light through their feathers makes them look blue. This explains why males can appear many shades from turquoise to black. Sometimes a very blue bird; stunning...

[Addendum]

Before the day was done, I also found a black-headed Bullock’s Oriole; but, of course, there is no such bird. This pretty boy was drinking from the nectar feeders at my kitchen window. I watched the bird for quite some time…about 2’ from my nose. However, upon some research, I discovered what I saw was a Baltimore Oriole! Another first!

Doing the research, I tried to figure out how the heck to tell a Baltimore from an Orchard Oriole…assuming one is not familiar with “distinctive dark chestnut” color. Well, most of it is in the tail; the Orchard Oriole has a dark tail, while the bird I saw had an under tail the same brilliant yellow-orange as his belly; so it was surely a Baltimore Oriole! Sweet!!!

Photos from Wikipedia

7 comments:

jozien said...

You do have some beautiful birds there in your yard!
That MSM bird sounds interesting too:)

dAwN said...

Your MSM sounds like a surprising delight! and I can understand why you haven't been blogging.
But...I am glad that you took the time to post again.
I love your western tanager..one of my favorites!
I didn't know that Baltimore Orioles made it to CO..how cool!
Look forward to seeing more of your birds..and I am very intrigued by MSM!

lkw said...

Aren't Indigo Buntings beautiful? We see them up in the mountains, here.

Glad to hear that you've been happily occupied elsewhere, too, as I haven't had a chance to visit for awhile.
Cheers,
Lisa

scienceguy288 said...

Wow! What colorful birds. A full rainbow in your backyard!

Beverly said...

ScienceGuy! Hiyas...long time no see. I sure did like your article on the missing link, AKA Ida. Too cool, huh?

Yes, I'm blessed to have a big yard near the river, surrounded by big trees and large shrubs; natural habitat the birds love. That I bait them with pounds and pounds of food is just an aside. Really.

They are colorful…you can see that because I use professional photographs (public domain); with most of mine one could hardly tell what species the bird is… [sigh]

Thanks for stopping by,
Beverly

Connie Kogler said...

Great post and nice pictures too.. you know we'll want to hear more about your MSM!

Beverly said...

Thanks Connie! And you do know I didn't take the pics, right? I just don't have a good lens for my ten-year old digital camera... Maybe someday. Wikipedia is my friend! LOL

Speaking of MSM, he's a rancher kind of guy and these days is busy flooding fields...I've got to get up there and check out the Ibis I think he finds out and about...no telling what else might be out there! Course, who needs an excuse to go tromping about with yer sweetie, huh? :)