It was another beautiful morning in South Holland, and you know the drill.
The first bird I was able to capture on film was this ginormous swan flying by, and I thought it was just another mute swan, the type we’ve been seeing all summer. Upon closer inspection, however, its beak is all black, which means it can’t be a mute swan and is likely a tundra swan (Cygnus columbianus) instead, freshly arrived from its breeding grounds along the Artic Ocean! Maybe it’s not the only one and that’s why I counted easily twice as many swans today as last month. Hmmm.
Here’s a ring-necked pheasant with a tail almost as long as the neck on that swan.
I was stunned to see a rare November butterfly, and this one turns out to be a red admiral. We haven’t seen one of those since September.
As I’ve mentioned before, the European robins have become much bolder than I experienced them over the summer, and here’s one just staring me down.
Here’s a totally new bird for us, on either continent, a Eurasian siskin (Spinus spinus), also newly arrived from breeding grounds farther north, but not quite as far as the tundra swan. It is close cousins (same genus, Spinus) with the American goldfinch, and I bet you can see the family resemblance.
Here’s a Eurasian green-winged teal drake busily slurping up the duckweed.
Here’s a Eurasian widgeon drake on break from slurping up the duckweed. You can see he’s even still got a little on his shirt.
Here’s his lovely companion, a Eurasian widgeon hen.
Here’s yet another white stork really showing off its primary feathers, which I read separate like that on purpose to act as winglets and reduce drag.
Finally, here’s a common wood pigeon flashing us one of its sky-blue eyes.