Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another goldencheek

Today’s flock was hard work, but rewarding, because it had another goldencheek. This was our fourth location at the Granada site, and as invariably happens at any site, each day it becomes harder to find flocks you haven’t already done. Walking through the forest with GPS in hand, the question is always “how far are we from yesterday’s flock?” Or, when you’ve done three flocks already, the question becomes “where the heck can we go that’s far enough away from these earlier flocks?”

Thus we roamed the land, in search of birds that we hadn’t already seen.

By nine ‘o clock, we still had not found a flock, although we finally did get to an area that to me at least looked promising. As I said to Hector, it’s not enough just wanting to see a goldencheek – you gotta expect it. This here is where I would expect to find the species.

But the only thing we found there was dead silence.

Ten minutes later and a couple of hundred meters further, though – bang! Suddenly birds everywhere.

A flock that in the end wasn’t huge, merely large, but with birds roving around in a fairly tight pack. It had not one but two Greater Pewees.

It also had 6 Yellow-backed Orioles, whose song I just love. A couple of Yellow-backed Oriole (Icterus chrysater) songs can be heard here:

The Golden-cheeked Warbler in this flock was not an adult male, like the majority of goldencheeks here, but what I will tentatively call an immature female type. It had no black at all on the throat, and very little black on the breast and light streaking on the sides. The upperparts were olive. Although we saw it repeatedly, we never got close enough for a decent photo.

So, in an effort to outdo myself at ‘crappiest Golden-cheeked Warbler photo ever’ – here’s a photo of the bird!

I assure you, the bird is in there! Click on the photo, and see if you can find it. Of course the lighting wasn’t great and my camera will only take reasonable bird photos of birds that just happen to be really close. When this photo was taken, the bird was probably 50 m away, good enough for bins but way too far for my camera obviously.

Here’s an enlargement of that photo. The bird is barely recognizable.

Soon after I found this bird, I thought I saw another: an adult male. But I didn’t see it well enough to safely call it, so after a while I said to Hector “Well, I think we have one and a half goldencheek”, to which he wittily replied “let’s try and find the other half then”.

But we never did.

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