A Carolina Wren at Governor’s Bridge

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10 18 14 Governor's Bridge 013

While many other songbirds head south for the winter, the Carolina Wren stays in the area year-round. They tend to stay in shrubby, brushy, wooded areas feeding in leaf litter and tangled vegetation for insects and spiders. True to form, this fella popped out of a tangled thicket of branches and briars, surveying the area before flying across a gravel roadway and into the thicket on the other side.

What Little Bird Could This Be?

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10 13 14 Bombay Hook 099

Last week, I took a series of photos of what I thought at the time was a pretty little Ruby-Crowned Kinglet. By the time I pulled the photos up on the computer, I was already doubting that identification. In fact, today I took a photo of a Ruby-Crowned Kinglet in the same woods along the Boardwalk Trail at Bombay Hook.

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Though there are similarities between the two birds, a careful look at the beak and the eyes shows the differences. The beak of the Kinglet is longer and pointy, while the photo from last week has a shorter, stubbier beak. The eye-ring of the Kinglet is thin and goes almost all around the eye, while the bird in the first photo has a more spectacled look.

The spectacled look made me think twice, this time about Vireos. That spectacled eye looked like a darker version of the eye-ring of a White-Eyed Vireo. What other Vireos have that distinctive look? The Yellow-Throated, the Blue-Headed, and the Black-Capped Vireo. The Black-Capped Vireo has distinctive diagnostic features that don’t match this bird, plus it’s a Texas-Oklahoma bird. So, is it a Yellow-Throated or a Blue-Headed? I’m just not sure – it has a white eye-ring/spectacle like the Blue-Headed, but seems to have a yellow throat and chest like the Yellow-Throated.

Here are a few more photos of the same bird:

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The more I look at it, the more I think it’s a Blue-Headed, but I’m just not sure. Hmmm….

Yellow-Rumped Warbler at Bombay Hook

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10 13 14 Bombay Hook 088

The cooler fall weather means that you can actually get out of your car at Bombay Hook without getting eaten alive by swarms of monstrous mosquitoes. So Sunday morning, I went for a walk on the Boardwalk Trail, where some Yellow-Rumped Warblers were busy foraging for fall berries.

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Though far more subdued in his autumn attire, the Yellow-Rumped Warbler still cut a dashing figure as he flitted from branch to branch.

Egrets and Herons at Bomby Hook

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10 13 14 Bombay Hook 064

They were everywhere Sunday morning, and they were quite content to sit and pose ever so nicely! This Snowy Egret was perched on a dead snag overlooking a small pool along the edge of the road.

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This demure Great Blue Heron posed with a Mallow flower apparently tucked behind it’s ear. Seemed to me like an avian version of the great Billie Holiday – a Lady Day kind of bird!

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Then, the Great Blue Heron moved stretched just a bit to pose for this profile.

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And this Snowy Egret balanced on one leg for his photo!

Peregrine Falcon at Bombay Hook

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10 05 14 Bombay 198 #2

The Peregrine Falcon was extirpated from the Eastern United States as a result of DDT poisoning in the middle of the twentieth century. They have slowly recovered since DDT was banned in 1966. These magnificent hunters are among the longest distance migrants in North America. Some of these intrepid birds fly from the tundra in Northern Canada to South America.

This juvenile Peregrine Falcon, identified as such by the vertical barring on his chest, was hunting along Shearness Pool at Bombay Hook.

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10 05 14 Bombay 200 #2

A heavily cropped photo shows what kept the Peregrine Falcon perched on the tree snag for so long – he was eating his dinner.

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Non-breeding American Goldfinches

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A group of American Goldfinches were foraging in the thickets surrounding Centennial Lake yesterday morning. Those in non-breeding plumage looked starkly different from their bright yellow counterparts. A few of the breeds were still in their bright yellow attire. Though far more subdued, the buffey-colored birds were still quite handsome!

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Double Double-Crested Cormorants

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09 27 14 misc 116

For the last few weeks, it seems like life has conspired to keep me from birding. So it was particularly delightful to get out for just awhile this morning. My sister and I went to Centennial Park near Ellicott City to participate in the annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s in my Mom’s memory. These two Double-Crested Cormorants were leisurely floating out in the lake as the walkers strolled by on the walking path. It was a nice day to be outside, to remember my Mom, and to enjoy a few birds.

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