Sunny Fall Morning

I was with a small group of birdwatchers and photographers on a cool but sunny fall morning recently. We had a number of nice sightings, including what was a first time bird for many of us.

There are two species of Kinglet, a tiny bird that summers to our north and winters just south of us. We often see them together in the spring and fall as they move back and forth. They are very active and tend to stay deep in the foliage as they forage for insects. The first photograph is of a Golden-crowned Kinglet. The second is a Ruby-crowned Kinglet. The ruby colored feathers are just barely visible on the Ruby-crowned Kinglet’s head because they only raise the feathers when they are excited.

We are starting to see a common winter resident, the Dark-eyed Junco. These sparrows live in New England forests and move to lower elevations in the winter where it is easier to find food. Flocks often appear near bird feeders.

Another sparrow we spotted was a Lincoln’s Sparrow that was moving through our area on its way from Canada to Mexico. The buffy chest and face and crisp stripes are identifying marks.

Another birdwatcher flagged us down to point out a Philadelphia Vireo. This is not a common migrant and many in our group, including me, had not seen one before. This one perched and preened for several minutes and gave us a very good look at it.

There was also a female Belted Kingfisher that put on quite a display for us. These birds always seem to move as far away from us as they can. Or they go zooming by as they are fishing and are just a blur. Their chattering call makes it sound like they are laughing at us. This one flew by us several times and even perched nearby to pose for us.

I managed to catch it in flight but the lighting was such that the blue-gray color was lost.

Our raptor for the morning was a Northern Harrier that flew fairly close as it was hunting over the meadow.

It’s fall and birds are on the move. Some are coming. Some are going. Some are just passing through. There seems to be something different each time we go out.

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