Fun with Names!

It did rain last night, as forecast, but the skies were mostly clear by morning, so out I went again. This time a female tufted duck was the first to greet me with a photo-op. I do see them around, from time to time, but I haven’t taken a picture of one since staying by the Kralingse Plas back in May.

I checked in on the storks again and found one parent and two chicks at home. You can see one chick peeking over the rim of the nest to help mom or dad keep eyes on me.

The stork nest is in the back yard of a house in a row of nice houses, and I often find little birds in the front yards. Here’s another white wagtail on someone’s garden path.

Here finally is a new bird for us, and I’m pretty sure it’s a song thrush (Turdus philomelos), although it might be a mistle thrush. I don’t recall seeing one before, but I spotted three different ones today. Oddly, it is in the same genus, Turdus, as the American robin, but the thrushes we see in Estabrook, the hermit thrushes and Swainson’s thrushes are not. Instead, they are in the genus Catharus. And, yes, this will all be on the final exam.

The front yards were busy this morning, and here’s another new bird for us, a dunnock (Prunella modularis) aka hedge accentor, hedge sparrow or hedge warbler. Ebird describes it as a “rather drab but distinctive little bird: note slender, thrush-like bill (not stout, like superficially similar sparrows).”

There was no sign of human activity this morning in any of the houses or yards in that row, but I didn’t want to hang out with binoculars and a long lens for long enough to cause some, so I tore myself away and continued on to the open water, which was still teaming with bar-tailed godwits. Here’s the one with the best pose this morning.

Across the bike path from the open water, a bunch of little birds was foraging in a long hedge of trees, which look like they might be mulberries, and this was the best picture I could get. I believe it is either a marsh tit (Parus palustris) or willow tit (Parus montanus), but the picture is not good enough to distinguish between the two. Next time. In any case, it’s in the same family, Paridae, as the black-capped chickadees in Estabrook.

I didn’t see any new waders today, and I had to go back by the row of houses anyway, so I stopped to see if there was anyone new around, and that’s when I saw this spotted flycatcher (Muscicapa striata) flying sorties from and returning to the same spot on a branch, just like the flycatchers and phoebes in Estabrook Park. It’s an “Old World flycatcher“, however, so isn’t even in the same family, despite the “superficial” resemblance.

Then I finally struck gold in the form of this colorful European goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis). I’d been catching glimpses of that bright yellow wing for a while, but this is the first time I got a good look at one, let alone getting anything on “film”.

It rivals the chaffinch, doesn’t it? The guy who came up with “goldfinch”, however, must have felt like an idiot after he got a load of the American goldfinch. He should have gone with Ewijk finch, since the village of Ewijk uses the same, white-orange-yellow-and-black, color scheme in their flag.

As I continued to make my way back to Delft, I spotted another bird of prey in the distance, and its large size, brown and white feathers, dark eyes, yellow and dark beak leads me to believe it is a common buzzard (Buteo buteo).

In more crazy naming confusion, as the Pedia of Wik explains, members of the genus Buteo, are called “buzzards” in the Old World and “hawks” in the New World. Meanwhile the New World turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) is also known in some North American regions as the turkey buzzard (or just buzzard). Sheesh!

After the buzzard, I figured I was done for the morning, and I put my camera back in my backpack, but it didn’t take long before I had to take it back out again for another Swedish blue domestic hen with a fresh batch of nine (9!) ducklings.

Meanwhile, right behind me, on the other side of the bike path, a spoonbill was busy foraging a lot closer to me than the previous one did, so here you go. Go ahead and count those feathers.


WordPress wouldn’t let me upload these last two images because it claims I’ve used up the full 13GB of storage that comes with my subscription, so I’m trying something new. I’ve uploaded the images to my flickr account instead and just gave WordPress the url for each of them. They look fine now, as I edit this post, and I’ll be curious to hear if you can tell the difference.

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.

5 thoughts on “Fun with Names!

  1. HI Andrew,

    The spoonbill photos look fine to me.  Though, my favorite is the dappled gold and black Swedish domestic hen chicks. 

    It always makes me happy to read your posts. So thanks!

               Jean G.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. All of your great photos are coming thru with flying colors (literally!). So many new birds with North American relatives… and so many new unrelated species. Fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Andy! The pictures look fabulous as usual. Thanks for making my day with these posts. It is always a treat to take a break and see what is going on in your neck of the woods.

    Take care,


    Liked by 1 person

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