Last week my Sissy invited me to come down to her place early on Saturday morning for birding and hiking. Even though she lives in town, she gets great birds in her yard.
Here's a little bird feasting on the grape jelly in her oriole feeder. Sissy says she's had these little ones coming for a couple of weeks, but the numbers have started to decline this week as migration continues.
She was calling them Ruby-Crowned Kinglets and that's kind of what I thought also, just because they were so tiny. But as I was posting these pictures to my blog tonight, and looking a little bit closer at this photo--
I don't think it's a kinglet at all--especially because of that white eyebrow, darker eye stripe and lack of any wingbars. So what is it? Anybody have any thoughts? I'm leaning towards Tennessee Warbler. I think the size and color are about right.
After enjoying the backyard birds for a while, Sissy and I headed off to the walking trails of nearby Bear Cave Park. As we were crossing the footbridge, I spotted this little bird fly over to a rock in the middle of the river. I'm even worse at shorebird ID than I am at warblers, but based on size, actions of the bird, and description from my Kaufmann Field Guide, I'm going with Spotted Sandpiper on this one.
Of course, the picture was taken into the sun and the bird was a distance away, so good field marks can't be seen, but I was still excited to see this bird--we just don't get many shorebirds in this area. If anyone else has any thoughts on this bird also, I'd appreciate your input.
Our walk through the woods didn't reveal as many warblers and other birds as we thought we'd see, but the scenery was quite beautiful.
We did hear and see the Red-Eyed Vireo and Cedar Waxwings, along with the usual wrens, robins, and crows.
As we followed the trail out of the woods, we came to an area that has been restored to native prairie. Sissy and I marveled at this as we didn't even know this area existed! We headed over to the viewing platform in the middle of this prairie and were treated to the sights of Tree Swallows, Eastern Bluebirds, and Indigo Buntings. In the farm fields beyond this prairie area, we heard and saw Eastern Wild Turkeys and the Ring-Necked Pheasant.
Soon it was time to head for home as Sissy had to get ready for work. But what a fun trip. I know Sissy and I will definitely bird these areas again since gas prices are keeping us all closer to home this summer.
I'll leave you with this picture of Mrs. Red-Bellied Woodpecker enjoying a suet treat from the log hanging in my Sissy's backyard.