Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wild Bird Wednesday: A new bird for me, young pheasants, and a mystery bird

I was quite pleased earlier this week when I spotted a new bird in my yard.  We have a lot of tall trees in the woods surrounding the house, and although I can see some birds waaaay up in the treetops, I can't always get a good look at them or get a good photograph.  I had noticed previously that there seemed to be a very small bird that flitted about sometimes, but I wasn't able to get a good picture because it was very active and constantly moving, and usually too high up in the tree for me to see. Most of my pictures looked like this, although this one has a good clue in it!

When the little bird came down from the pine and briefly alighted on a birch branch, I managed to get a picture (not a great picture) that was enough to identify my tiny bird as a golden-crowned kinglet (Regulus satrapa).  The male has a orange-yellow patch on the crown of his head, while the female has a bright yellow patch.  My picture captured the female, and that blurry pine picture above shows the bright yellow of that crown spot on her head.  This picture below shows her diminutive size and wing bars.

This shot finally captured her yellow crown, at least a little bit of it, in plain view.

The golden-crowned kinglet isn't a rare bird, but it's still not a common backyard feeder bird, so I was quite excited to have spotted it in my yard.  I'll be watching for it now, and hoping for a better photographing opportunity.

This morning, as if they knew it was Wild Bird Wednesday, a group of ring-necked pheasants came to scratch and peck under my bird feeder.  I believe it was a mother with 3 "adolescent" males.  They are just moulting into their adult plumage and I'm not sure how many moult cycles they go through before they achieve adult appearance.  I apologize for the quality of the photographs but they were taken through my home office window glass, so not as clear as I would have liked.  Pheasants are very timid and rapidly leave if I go outside to photograph them.  Here is one of the young males with the adult female to the right and another young male in the background.

You can clearly see the red on his face and some of the iridescent feather colouring forming.

Here is the second young male, very similar in appearance to the first.

Here is mom (rear) with two of her brood.  The one on the right is interesting - I still think it's a male, but it seems to be in a different moult phase than the other two males.

This is the different male - the feathers have light coloured lacing on the tips, unlike the other males, and the neck feathering is different in colour to the others.  I'm not sure if this one is a bit older, or a bit younger, than the other two.  I'm still fairly sure it's a male due to the red on the face and the tail appearance.

Then my cat jumped up onto the windowsill and everybody went on high alert!  Here's mom, giving me the evil eye!

They all disappeared into the underbrush in a hurry.

Meanwhile, I'm hoping perhaps somebody can help with the identification of this little mystery bird. I had thought it was a warbler, although it wasn't matching any of my field guide pictures tremendously well.  Based on the Peterson Warbler Guide, I thought it might be a Tennessee Warbler in first fall plumage, or perhaps a Black-throated Blue Warbler in first fall plumage.  The thing is, the brownish streaking on its flanks doesn't seem to be entirely consistent with those options.  In addition, looking at the first picture in particular, there are some dark feathers under the tail that do not seem consistent with the first fall plumage of those two warblers.  I've also wondered about a female Prairie Warbler, without feeling any particular confidence in that ID.  That really long yellow eyebrow is distinctive, as is the yellow elsewhere, but the browns never seem right and the chest markings are indistinct. Then, someone on Facebook suggested it might be a Philadelphia Vireo, although I think the head feathering colour may be a bit too brown for that.  The three pictures below are all taken on the same day - can anyone provide any suggestions consistent with birds that would be expected in New Brunswick, Canada?  (another set of pictures follows this one, but they are from another day)

Here is a second set of pictures of what I believe is the same bird species, but of course I can't be positive.  These were taken a few days after the first set.  Again in the first picture, you can see those dark feather markings under the tail.


Lea said...

A Kinglet and Pheasants, too - very good!
As for the mystery bird, I have no idea what it is, but it sure is a pretty little thing!

Anu said...

Congratulations on new bird! Your mystery bird looks very much same kind like a Willow warbler here in Finland, Europe. But I think that it doesn’t exist in your country.
Great photos!

Stewart M said...

What a wonderful little bird. It looks a lot like the Goldcrests I used to see in the UK - we dont really have anything like them here in Australia.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Sharon Wagner said...

The pheasants are so beautiful. Something I rarely get to see.