A ruff morning.

I visited the wooded cemetery on campus again this morning, but I didn’t get much for pictures. I heard one of the falcons again, and spotted it on the same tower as yesterday, but that was a block away so not really worth the film. I could also hear a chiffchaff and a wren, but they didn’t want to come out to play.

In fact, the only pictures I took today were of great tits, and this is the one that was in focus. They forage a bit like their cousins, the chickadees, hanging every-which-way as they inspect the branches for food.


Luckily for us, I did see a couple of other birds yesterday out in the countryside. In the same water where we saw the bar-tailed godwits, the common redshanks, and the green sandpipers, this time there was a group of Ruffs (Calidris pugnax). It seems “ruff” is their entire name, and the Pedia of Wik doesn’t list a single alias.

They appear similar to the redshanks, so much so that a google search of “redshank vs ruff” lists several articles trying to show and explain the differences. One take-away is that ruffs, especially males, are highly variable, and that’s what I saw, too.

Here’s an “immature” with a “scaly back”.


And here’s a female or non-breeding male “with blotchy markings on the neck and belly.


I didn’t see any breeding males, sadly, because they are supposed to have “fancy neck ruffs that can be black, white, buffy, reddish-brown, or any combination thereof.”

Lastly, I saw a couple of these, which I thought might be a new bird for us, but it turns out to be a young European starling, just like the ones we see in Estabrook, but before the dark adult feathers come in with little light spots on the ends.


And those are the pictures fit to print.

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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