|Blue-gray Gnatcatcher on Nest by Kevin Burrell|
Friday, April 24, 2015
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Identifying the two scaup species can be challenging.. The differences can be seen in this photo below. the lesser scaup is on the upper left. Note the purplish tint to the head. The head is also more oval-shaped, with a peak at the top. The greater scaup on the lower right has a more evenly rounded head with a greenish tint.
|Lesser and Greater Scaup by Phil Fowler|
Caspian terns are our largest terns in North Carolina, as large or larger than some medium sized gulls. The two birds with the red bills shown below are Caspian terns. The other bird with the orange bill is a royal tern. Caspians pass thru the Piedmont during the migrations, royals are strictly coastal.
|Royal and Caspian Terns by John Ennis|
Common loons are gray, brown, and white during the winter...
|Common Loon by Cathy Miller|
but by April the adults have transformed their plumage into the black / white speckled upperparts with striking black head and neck bands.
|Common loon by Jeff Lewis.|
Thursday, April 16, 2015
|Male Indigo Bunting by Ron Clark|
|Male Indigo Bunting by Jeff Lewis|
|Male Blue Grosbeak by John Ennis|
Tuesday, April 14, 2015
|Common Gallinule by Don Faulkner|
|American Coot by Don Faulkner|
Friday, April 10, 2015
|Rose-breasted Grosbeak by Ron Clark|
Tuesday, April 7, 2015
|Eastern Bluebird by John Ennis|
|Carolina Chickadee by Phil Fowler|
|Tufted Titmouse by John Ennis|
|Brown-headed Nuthatch by Jeff Lewis|
|Tree Swallow by Jeff Lewis|
|Great Crested Flycatcher by Phil Fowler|
|Prothonotary Warbler by John Ennis|
|Eastern Screech-owl by John Ennis|
|Barred Owl Chick by Lee Weber|
Friday, March 27, 2015
I've gotten a little rush of bird identification questions lately, and most have pertained to one particular species. Every spring the American goldfinches transform from their winter plumage to their breeding plumage right before our eyes. While the adult males in the breeding season are pretty unmistakable, the winter plumage and transition plumages sometimes confuse feeder observers.
Below is a series of photos showing the gradual plumage changes:
|American Goldfinch (right) by Taylor Piephoff|
By this time of year, the males are starting to acquire the bright yellow plumage that most people are accustomed to seeing. Note the patchy yellow coming in among the patches of gray winter plumage, and the aquisition of the black cap.
|American Goldfinch Male by Bruce Naliboff|
The females show this transition too. This bird is starting to show the yellow coming in, but it is not as bright, since this is a duller female bird.
|Female American Goldfinch by Peg Bania|
In a few weeks the transformation is complete. The adult males have assumed their strikingly brilliant summer suits.
|Adult Male American Goldfinch by John Ennis|
You may continue seeing the goldfinches at your feeders throughout the summer. Here is a mix of adult males and adult females. The females will be a yellow-green when nesting but will be more gray in the winter. Both males and females have the black wings with prominent bars or stripes throughout the year.
|Male and Female American Goldfinches by Cathy Miller|