Lucky Six Seconds

For a few weeks I’ve noticed what I assumed was Blue Grosbeaks flying back-and-forth across the pond. I’m fairly certain they have a nest in some scrubby land just west of the water. Quite often, when I’m sitting near the pond hoping to catch a good image of a bird or a wild flower, I see the blue flash of the male as it zips past me. It is a different hue of blue than the Indigo Bunting, which also lives on our retired farm land. Often The male grosbeak is followed closely by a cinnamon colored bird of similar size. That would be the female.

Yesterday, while hoping to get a photo of the elusive Yellow-breasted Chat (which I recently recorded vocalizing near the pond), I filmed several birds including this poor Song Sparrow that apparently was the victim of an assault (perhaps our neighbor’s unwelcome cat or maybe even the Cooper’s Hawk.) I didn’t notice until I downloaded the photos that he was missing all of his tail feathers, sans one. Still his extreme injury didn’t prevent him from singing at the top of a small tree.

I also captured this Red-winged Blackbird singing his own, robust song.

I snapped a few shots of these “wild daisies” as I refer to them. I don’t know their accurate name. And, I shot a few pictures of the Queen Ann’s Lace (another wild flower.) It always reminds me of attending Girl Scout summer camp as a kid, because that’s where I first learned the names of many wild flower species.

This Eastern Kingbird remained in the shade of a small tree, panting due to the extreme heat and humidity which arrived after a short thunder storm. I took the opportunity to take his picture.

Because of the heat, I had parked my golf cart under a bit of shade that was offered by one of the few larger trees on the west side of the pond. Surprise. Surprise. I discovered that the tree is a Mulberry! It was filled with fruits that were ripening at various stages. The discovery helped me to understand why I hear and see so many Gray Catbirds and Brown Thrashers in that area. Both species enjoy eating fruit as part of their diet!

If I could have reach them, I would have grabbed a few of the deep purple berries. I love Mulberries. However, the best catch of the day occurred in a brief six seconds when a brownish bird flew into a small tree not far from where I was sitting. I immediately knew it wasn’t the Song Sparrow that I had just filmed. It was far too drab. I also felt that it wasn’t a bird I had seen before – even though it was mostly obscured by the tree branches. That situation made for a very tough photographic experience for me, because I completely rely on my camera’s auto-focus function and it often selects the closest object upon which to target.

This time, luck was on my side. While I had filmed the species before, I had never seen a juvenile male Blue Grosbeak. My camera cooperated and honed in on the bird rather than the leaves in the foreground. It was a very fortunate few seconds, and it yielded just three images which were clear enough to positively identify the bird before it flew off as quickly as it lighted on the branch.

2 Comments on “Lucky Six Seconds

  1. Three cheers for the juvenile blue grosbeak! Great photos 🙂

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