Friday, May 6, 2011

Early Morning Life Bird

Last evening my Sissy called me on the phone, all excited because she had this bird in her backyard that she had never seen before. "It has a red head and a greenish body," she said. Jeez, I thought to myself, what in the world could it be? I grabbed my big Sibley Guide to Birds and went through all the possibilities. Finally, the only thing I thought it could be, based on her description, was the Summer Tanager. I found some other photos on-line and had her look on-line too. "Yup, there it is!" she finally said. It's a male Summer Tanager with first spring plumage. Of course, by the time we finally got this all figured out the tanager was gone. But early this morning, when she was getting ready for work, the tanager showed up again, so she called me. I finished hanging my laundry on the line and Mr. Johnson and I piled in the car to drive the 4 miles to my Sissy's back yard. After standing around for about 30 minutes, Mr. Johnson spotted him -- see, up there, in the branches!
Then he flew down to the feeder pole where the oriole's grape jelly was hanging. Wow, isn't he something?

And finally, he flew to the grape jelly dish, in the direct sunlight, and I was able to get this fabulous shot of him. Wow again! What a gorgeous bird! And a new lifebird to check off my list! Thanks Sissy for sharing this great bird with us!

While we were waiting, Mr. Baltimore Oriole flew in to gobble down some grape jelly and show off his gorgeous colors in the sun.

And I got excited all over again when this Orchard Oriole (my first of the year!) also arrived and showed off his acrobatic skills to dine on the grape jelly too.

So far this May, I've gotten 22 new birds added to my list, bringing my total to 120 so far for the year. The best thing is that I've seen most of these birds within 40 miles of home, so even with gas prices close to $4 a gallon, birding close to home has been pretty good this spring.


Richard said...

Only seen one Summer Tanager and it was all red. What a catch and you even got pictures.

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Beeeautiful photos, Ruthie!

Anonymous said...

LUCKY YOU and LUCKY DAY to see a summer tanager. What a pretty bird. I'm lucky if I see a Scarlet Tanager in a year.


eileeninmd said...

It seems I am having trouble leaving comments. I love your photos and what a gorgeous bird. Congrats on your life bird and the Oriole is beautiful too.

KGMom said...

Oh what a gorgeous flashy bird. The feathers on the body appear to be lime green--are they? And that orangey red hed. Lovely.

Gaelyn said...

Love how bright that summer tanager is. I'll be seeing the Westerns at the canyon, soon.

I added 5 new lifers in TX and didn't even go birding.