Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oatka Creek Park • May 9

Common Fleabane. A newly blooming wildflower for the park.

Gray Catbird. The park is filled with these mimics. They are easy to pick up by ear as their mimicry is very irregular compared to Brown Thrashers, Northern Mockingbirds, or even Blue Jays, if you allow the last species into the mimic group. Catbird imitations also seem to retain a characteristic catbird quality to them, though it is subtle. Not many of the diagnostic "meow" calls are being given at this point in the season. Though an easy bird to find and spot, catbirds, like crows, can be surprisingly difficult to photograph well due to their coloration and camera shyness.

Chestnut-sided Warbler. This was a red letter day! As I was deep in the heart of Brown Creeper Trail taking pictures of the aforementioned catbird, a pair of Chestnut-sided Warblers that had been hanging around for a day or two started flitting around me at extremely close range. These migrants seemed to only stay for a week in the park, if that long. They were at such close range it was difficult to get good shots as the closeness magnified their motion.

Chestnut-sided Warbler. The chestnut-color flank is just visible here and it shown more clearly in the following shots. What I hadn't realized was how much yellow was on their backs and head.

Chestnut-sided Warbler. Consulting a number of field guides, it looks like this might be a first spring male.

Chestnut-sided Warbler. I don't recall seeing this species in the fall in the park. So, it may be bye-bye until next May!

Question Mark. This particular butterfly seems to be missing the dot of its question mark. It opened its wings and ...

Question Mark. It is revealed that it has "a small black horizontal bar in the subapical forewing." - Butterflies though Binoculars, The East. Essentially, one of the large black dots on the upper wing towards the front edge is only found on this species.

Tufted Titmouse. These birds are still extremely active and vocal, even if not as easily seen among the leaves during late spring.

Yellow Warbler

Brown-headed Cowbird. This is another species that presents colors and behaviors not conducive to photography.

Song Sparrow. Song Sparrows, on the other hand, make you look like a good wildlife photographer!

Song Sparrow

Star-of-Bethlehem. Note how both flowers are more or less fully open. We'll see them again in a couple pictures.

Northern Flicker. This male had no indention of leaving this hole, though I was on the opposite side of the creek at the time. This is normally a very skittish bird. It was probably guarding its nest.

Star-of-Bethlehem. These are the same flowers as above, almost exactly 15 minutes later! Sleepy Dicks, indeed!

Dame's Rocket. I found my deep pink Dame's Rockets.

Baltimore Oriole, hanging out in the bluebird nesting box field. I have not found their nest, yet, though I saw the female carrying nesting material.

Eastern Bluebird. This is not the box that the bluebird customarily use.

Eastern Bluebird. This male has food for the nestlings in the box that is the bluebird's favorite.