Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Part 2: Non-warbler Passerines

In addition to the abundant warblers, NY plays host to tons of other members of the Passerine family such as Tanagers, Orioles and Flycatchers. These songbirds--characterized by having four toes, three directed forward and one backward--are generally larger than the warblers but just as brightly colored. Its hard to pick a favorite but the first bird that really captured my imagination back in 1995 is the Scarlet Tanager. Since then, I have tried to describe the red of their scarlet or capture it on film as it were. Each time I realize the futility of such an endeavor. This bird can only be seen live, contrasted against the bright green foliage to feel its ancient and tropical power. But this wont stop me from trying!
Tanagers are voracious insectivores, taking on huge bumblebees

and nasty hornets.

And here's a female.

Another striking bird is the Baltimore Oriole. This one came to the top of a tree when a RTH sailed over the Wildflower Meadow.

This one was displaying and making alarm calls at the ESO by the Point.

I was lucky enough to spot an Indigo Bunting in the meadow as well.

Here it hovered as it grabbed an insect on the wing.

A female towhee joined the party,

and a Savannah Sparrow.

I was also spotting large numbers of these guys, Red-Breasted Grossbeaks!

By the Meer, there was a feast on the wing...flycatcher!


and one of my favs, Eastern Kingbird!



A close up shows the mass of insoluble insect chitin as well as the fine wiskers near the beak of all flycatchers.

His flyout!

Last but not least, I watched this awesome Green Heron fishing on the Island.

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