There was a big surge in the spring migration this past week, including large flocks of Hermit Thrush, Northern Flicker and Kinglets. The first shorebirds starting arriving as well, including Yellowlegs and Pectoral Sandpiper. Add in the increased activity and vocalization by our resident birds and it made for a very busy week. I’ll start with the Kinglets.
There were hundreds of Kinglets in the refuge, foraging for the insects that are hatching out. There are two types of these small insectivores, Golden-crowned Kinglet and Ruby-crowned Kinglet. They are tiny, about 4 inches (10 cm), and very active. They flit about in the trees and low shrubs searching for caterpillars, larvae and whatever else they can find. It is a challenge to get photographs since they are constantly moving and are surrounded by branches and leaves. The majority of pictures are blurs, empty branches, the tail of a bird as leaves the frame or birds peeking out of the branches. So it is nice to get a few good pictures after all the shooting and culling.
This is the Golden-crowned Kinglet. The name obviously comes from the yellow on the top of the head. It also has facial stripes.
The Ruby-crowned Kinglet lacks the stripes and has eye rings instead. The small patch of red on the male’s head is usually hidden. It is just barely visible in the top photo. They do flash the whole crown when they are excited.
All the fliting around is for one purpose: find the small insects that are feeding on the new buds. Here a Golden-crowned Kinglet pauses to look left, look right and then leap to snatch it’s prey.
I managed to capture this one trying to snatch an insect right out of the air.
Next: more migrants and new arrivals.