Tricky Bird Identification at High Park: September 18, 2020

We had some interesting bird species at High Park this morning. Here is one that is easy to identify:

Wood Ducks
Wood Ducks

But here are five that were not:

#1

#2

#3

#4

#5

Let’s look at them individually.

#1 is obviously a sandpiper. Two evident features are the dark back and the light white eye-ring. Looking at a guide, we see that these are characteristics of the Solitary Sandpiper. The guide also tells us that this species likes wooded ponds which is where we saw it.

Solitary Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper

#2

This small bird is showing a dull yellow-olive colour. It was among a flock of about a dozen and by this behaviour, the undulating flight pattern and the chatting calls, it is clearly a female American Goldfinch.

American Goldfinch (female)

#3 I got many photos of this chatty, diminutive bird:

In this photo, you can see the light eye-ring and the barring on the tail.
The stuck-up tail is a wren characteristic. This is a House Wren.
House Wren
House Wren
House Wren
House Wren
House Wren

#4

I thought that this was the same House Wren as it was sitting on a stump as before.

But then I saw this photo as I prepared my post at home:

Those light wing bars and yellowish belly make it a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.

Yellow-bellied Flycatcher

#5

I did not get a good look at this bird in the field but did see the larger-than-warbler size, yellowish colour and white wing bars. I thought that it might be a Yellow-throated Vireo.

Yellow-throated Vireos have “yellowish “spectacles” around the eyes but I could not see the eyes. On seeing my 2 photos at home, it was clear that there were no “spectacles.” The bird is a female Baltimore Oriole.

Baltimore Oriole (female)
Baltimore Oriole (female)

Species list: mallard, wood duck, red-tailed hawk, solitary sandpiper, ring-billed gull, hairy woodpecker, downy woodpecker, yellow-bellied flycatcher, blue jay, black-capped chickadee, white-breasted nuthatch, house wren, yellow-rumped warbler, house sparrow, Baltimore oriole, northern cardinal, American goldfinch. (17 species)

Park views:

Japanese Beetle on grape leaf

The fields here are full of Panicled Tick-trefoil and, now, so are my pants:

Tick Trefoil “ticks”

Some botany:

Pale Jewelweed (Impatiens pallida)
Purple-stemmed Aster (Symphyotrichum puniceum)
Thin-leaved Coneflower (Rudbeckia triloba)
Sugar Maple
Pale-leaved Sunflower (Helianthus decapetalus)
Round-Headed Bush Clover (Lespedeza capitata)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae)
Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Sky-blue Aster (Symphyotrichum oolentandiense)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Daisy Fleabane (Erigeron annuus)
Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
Heath Aster (Symphyotrichum ericoides)
Staghorn Sumac (Rhus typhina)
Indian-hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)
Virgin’s-bower (Clematis virginiana)
Canada Wild Rye (Elymus canadensis)
New Jersey Tea (Ceanothus americanus)
Foxglove Beard-tongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Here is how the same plant looked in June:

Foxglove Beard-tongue (Penstemon digitalis)

Today’s group:

NATURE POETRY

Tis all a myth that Autumn grieves,
For watch the rain among the leaves;
With silver fingers dimly seen
It makes each leaf a tambourine.          – Samuel Minturn Peck (1854-1938) 

Miles Hearn

3 thoughts on “Tricky Bird Identification at High Park: September 18, 2020

  1. Lisa Volkov

    Fascinating bird sleuthing (I mean it!) You were so very engrossed, Miles, that it appears that you may have forgotten the people, and the date given is Sept. 19! But hey–it’s totally in the tradition of the “absent minded professor”, it gave me a laugh, and the birds were worth it!

    Reply

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