A bevy of birds in the park this morning

It was a perfect morning for pictures with a bright sun in the east and a crisp blue sky in the west. I set out to find a grosbeak, as one does, and these are the directions I had:

  1. Listen for its song, like a robin’s, but better.
  2. Follow the song to a tree
  3. Look up in the tree
  4. See the grosbeak

How could I go wrong?
So I head out, and right off the bat, just behind the police station, I hear a beautiful song, look up, and spot a bright orange and black baltimore oriole. Boy, the early light really makes his colors pop, but meh, I got his picture yesterday at the pond.
Next up, only a little further into the park, I hear another beautiful song, look up, and spot a bright orange, black, and white male eastern towhee singing to a female just a few feet away. Sweet, I haven’t seen either of them before.

Meanwhile, just to my right is a pair of little yellow birds flitting through the branches. I was tempted to chalk them up as kinglets because that’s what I discovered before after spending a half hour trying to catch one stationary long enough for me to aim, zoom, and focus, but what the heck, with the blue sky, it would still make a nice picture anyway. Well, it turns out they weren’t as flighty as kinglets because they were palm warblers! Noice! Another new one for me.
A dozen steps further along the path, and I glimpse a couple of birds just sitting in the bush at eye level. Usually, as I slowly take out my camera, they would take off, but they must have really been enjoying the warmth of that morning sun, because they didn’t budge. Best of all, one turns out to be a white-crowned sparrow, and the other is the elusive white-throated sparrow I’ve been trying to capture for weeks. Just sitting there like two old guys on a bench. Ha!
As I wrap up that photoshoot, I hear yet another beautiful song, and this guy turns out to be a song sparrow. I’ve even seen him before, but the lighting is much better this time. 

Until now, I had only thought of sparrows as those little guys that make a racket in the bushes. I was totally ignorant of their variety.
Welp, I haven’t even made it to the pond, it’s time for breakfast, and no grosbeaks yet. Maybe tomorrow.
On my way back home, down the oakleaf trail, I hear one more beautiful song, and it’s really close. Here we go! I scan and scan and scan the tree right in front of me, but I can’t find a dang thing. Just as I turn to move on, out of the bush below the tree hops a gray catbird. You little stinker! Fooled again, and no wonder the sound was so clear.
Man, I think I’m gonna need more detail than “song, like a robin’s, but better”.

I’ve uploaded the best of the rest to https://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewdressel/albums/72157713703616688

PS. I didn’t get to check on the goslings this morning, but they were all fine last evening, so I’m uncharacteristically optimistic.

Published by Andrew Dressel

Theoretical and Applied Bicycle Mechanic, and now, apparently, Amateur Naturalist. In any case, my day job is teaching mechanics at UWM.

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