Saturday, January 9, 2010

Goldencheek relocated

This morning we went to the spot where yesterday we saw that immature female goldencheek. And sure enough, the bird was still there, and I was able to get some photos. It spent some time in this small encino or thin-leaved oak (Quercus sapotifolia), and is here seen with a prey item in the bill.

The chin and throat on this bird are white, with limited black streaking from the sides of the breast down. The crown, nape and upperparts are olive, with very thin black streaks. I'd call this bird an immature female. Adult females and immature males tend to have darker, more heavily streaked upperparts. Note the faint auricular patch, which is practically absent on adult male goldencheeks and is reminiscent of Black-throated Green Warbler, in which this patch is more pronounced than seen here. Note also how the olive upperparts are still darker than on any Black-throated Green you'll ever see. Observers unfamiliar with goldencheeks might mistake a bird like this for a BT Green, but careful observation of the points just mentioned should set them straight.

Today's flock consisted of 26 individuals representing 19 species, including Wilson's Warbler, Painted Redstart, Western Tanager, Brown Creeper, Black-throated Green Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Hermit Warbler, Olive Warbler, Hepatic Tanager, Black-and-white Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Crescent-chested Warbler, Hairy Woodpecker, Greater Pewee, Brown-capped Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, and Least Flycatcher. The grosbeak, a seed eater, is perhaps a debatable flock member, but it did associate with the other members and it was feeding on insects also.

Most of the time today we worked in dense fog (clouds). As we drove down from the mountain, the sun broke through and we saw this Lesser Roadrunner.

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