The next trip out I headed to Valley Inn Road with reports of a number of interesting birds. Unfortunately the ponds were rather quiet, at first seeming to only leave a few pairs of Northern Shovelers. But then I spotted a
(Thanks to Dwayne for correcting my mess-up on the bird ID! They don't really even look alike and somehow the name colour got switched in my head.)
|male Blue-winged Teal (centre) with Northern Shovelor pair.|
|male Blue-winged Teal and female Northern Shovelor|
A Ring-billed Gull was floating in the water not far from where I was sitting with the hopes that the Green-winged Teal would meander close. Suddenly, from its floating mode, it started diving which isn't typical for gulls. A number of times it did it and then finally came up with a catch - a big juicy snail.
|Ring-billed Gull with snail catch.|
My next outing I headed back to LaSalle, hoping but not really expecting to see the brave pair of Wrens again. Not in the same location, but I believe I did in fact find them! The male was singing its heart out as I walked the trail past the boardwalk to the east.
|Carolina Wren with Northern Cardinal.|
|Carolina Wren in full song.|
Now for a tale on learning humility. I've been enjoying the birding/photography hobby for a long 28 months or so now. In months it sound longer than saying it as just over two years. A few people walking along the trail were wondering what birds I was enjoying and I gladly pointed out the wrens and White-throated Sparrow all skittering through the leaves in the underbrush at that moment. I was glad to share my knowledge and be able to point out some of the birds I have learned to some apparently obviously novice but interested walkers. Good of me really to be so kind! A smaller bird which I had actually noticed earlier in the background to my Wren watching was noticed by one of the ladies and she asked what it was. I over-confidently stated it was only a female Goldfinch. No, she was not sure that it was. I gently, but still a confidently, told her I thought it was. Again, she said, no, she didn't think so.
I had taken a shot or two of the same bird out in the distance earlier, actually thinking it strange that a Goldfinch was making its way thought the lower portions of the under brush. A grainy zoom in check on the playback had me thinking though that that is all it was. I had gone back to watching the wrens again.
|Rub-crowned Kinglet showing off its bright crown.|
With the lady, I followed the bird in question as it was now closer to the trail. A sudden bright flash of bright ruby red made my ID immediately known as completely wrong. Ruby-crowned Kinglet we voiced together in unison. I looked over and immediately had to acknowledge my previous identification as quite wrong. Looking back, I should have known the olive green and less pronounced wing bands were the clues! Humble pie!! Turns out the lady's son is an avid birder and she's picked up the knowledge to ID a bird or two from a number of years under his tutelage... I had to apologize for my rather bold but incorrect identification. I admitted I didn't mind too much being wrong, as it was a new life bird for me... #120.
This little bird is one of the the smallest North American birds and we are on the southern fringe of its nesting range. They are extremely active little birds, sharing the characteristic of being constantly in motion with their cousins the Golden-crowned Kinglets. They are finding insects hiding in corners and edges of buds and bark of the slender branches of trees. This bird must have been resting for bit of a breather as I was able to get quite a few shots before it moved on again.
The White-throated Sparrow I had mentioned earlier was not cooperating at all for a picture. It was carefully sticking to the densest sections of the brush. Interestingly, it was constantly singing its "Oh Sweet Canada Canada" call, but very quietly, all along its foraging journey. I wonder why it was calling so quietly. I finally got a chance for a few pictures when it too stopped for a brief break.