Monday, September 21, 2015

A Striking Surprise in Mint Hill

Ezell Farm in Mint Hill delivered some nice, locally uncommon birds after the passage of the cold front last weekend. 

I was excited to be greeted by a beautiful adult red-headed woodpecker; the first time I have seen that species there. The adults are striking, as pictured below. The species is an uncommon nester in Mecklenburg County, preferring open country with scattered large trees. Migrants enter the area from the north in fall and winter, increasing the species' numbers.

Red-headed Woodpecker by Phil Fowler

 Family groups of blue grosbeaks and indigo buntings flushed out of the hedgerows. They might have been migrants but could be local breeders that haven’t departed yet. By now, the brilliant plumage of the adult males has given way to the drab brown characteristic of females and immatures. A few blue feathers may persist into late fall.

Blue Grosbeak by Phil Fowler