When I first discovered that there was a pair of Blue Grosbeaks on our property, it was the female that showed up first. She was on the ground at the end of the corridor, quite a distance away. But her warm, cinnamon color and that BEAK – the size of her bill – was proof positive what species she was. A day later, in the same area, I began to hear a chirp, chirp, chirp sound. It was coming from the young Maple trees that have volunteered just off the corridor in the scrubby area of overgrown weeds. I searched and searched with my aged eyes and finally saw the bird. Snap, snap, snap. I took photos in the direction of the movement and only truly knew the species when I reviewed the images on my computer; a female Blue Grosbeak!
She was incredibly patient, and even tolerated the sound of my gas golf cart as I moved to a location where I could get a better view. She even flew over to a more open area and posed for me on the top of a fence. All the while, she was vocalizing that single chirp, chirp, chirp sound. I hoped that I might see her mate.
On the third day, I finally got a glimpse of him. The male Blue Grosbeak is the reason the species has a hue moniker, as the female is simply a golden brown color. Rather than offer himself up, however, he was very elusive and moved quickly. He flew into the Maple tree where his mate had been beckoning him. Then, over to a tall, dry reed in the otherwise green weeds. Oh! Perfect opportunity to catch him in the sunlight. But, he flew off as quickly as he landed. He finally ended up on the top of the fence and I was able to take a couple of grainy photos. Nonetheless, I felt satisfied for having recorded his image.
Since that time, back in mid-July, I have heard the full vocalization as well as had a couple of glimpses of the birds. But, otherwise they have eluded me. This is until yesterday. First, I filmed the female in a small tree near Sham’s Paddock where I was observing the Flycatcher that I posted earlier. That is not too far from the corridor where I had first noticed the pair.
Since I learned to recognize the Blue Grosbeak vocalization, I have also heard them on the west side of the the property, near the south end of the pond. There, the weeds grow quite high as the hay guy doesn’t cut that area because of the hill. I have heard both the song and that chirp, chirp beckoning sound so many times – but, the vegetation is just too thick to spot the birds. That area is about a 1000 feet from Sham’s Paddock and the corridor where I first filmed the pair of Blue Grosbeaks. That makes me feel confident that there are at least two, if not more pairs of the Grosbeaks here.
Here is an audio recording of the Blue Grosbeak that I captured on 8-25/20 on the east side of the pond.
These next photos were taken yesterday (8/30/20) over on the west side of the pond. I heard the chirp, chirp sounds and tracked them until I saw a bird fly to a tree top. No longer taunted, I was able to capture this handsome bird on film.
Interestingly, when I enlarged the photos on my desktop monitor, I found an Eastern Meadowlark sharing the tree with the male Blue Grosbeak.
Although the Meadowlark will probably be here all winter, it won’t be long before the Grosbeaks leave for their winter home down south. I feel fortunate to have been able to get these photos.