Four Birds and Who They Are

Top Photo: December 2022, what bird is this? The photo above depicts a hermit thrush. The clues are there. You should be able to tell from the shape of the bill that the bird is a thrush, at the very least, not a sparrow. Though you’re viewing the bird from behind and below, and mostly see the belly and undertail coverts, you can also see, at minimum, half of the tail. Along the outer edges of the tail you canRead more

The Warblers and The Aphids

Top Photo: Northern Parula on river birch. The other day while down in Explore the Wild on a cool October morning there was an active group of migrant songbirds working the trees along the shoreline. The group was composed of mostly yellow-rumped warblers, a few northern parulas and some kinglets. While the yellow-rumped warblers (butter-butts) were attracted to the wax myrtle fruit, which is in abundance this year, a river birch tree held the attention of the other birds inRead more

In Celebration of Yellow Rumps, Ruby Crowns, and Blue Heads.

I saw the first Yellow-rumped Warbler of the season here at the Museum on October 10, just two weeks ago. The chilly northwest winds of the latter part of last week brought in masses of them. When this occurs, as it does every year at this time, I usually sift through them for other migrants and take photo after photo of the birds. The birds are typically very hungry from a long night’s flight so they’re not as concerned withRead more

Scenes from the Wild

On October 13, I reported that I had seen the first Myrtle Warbler of the season on October 6, the first Saturday of the month. Well, they’re here in numbers now and getting down to business munching on wax myrtle fruit. I also reported seeing turtles basking on a log just off the main Wetlands Overlook. The turtles are making good use of the narrow log a dozen or so feet off the platform. Make sure you stop and haveRead more

Boys and Girls and Turtles and Myrtles

Groundsel Tree is in bloom, both male and female plants have flowers at this time. A few small diameter logs have drifted over towards the Wetlands Overlook and the sliders have taken to basking on the logs. There’s a frog on the log! Myrtle Warblers (you may know them as Butter Butts) are in. I saw the first one here at the Museum last Saturday (10/6). Besides the butter butts, both Ruby-crowned and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, and other migrantsRead more

Flycatching MYWAs

On the warm, calm 10th of February I noticed a bit of activity in two Loblolly Pines just north of the Ornithopter. A group of Myrtle Warblers (AKA Yellow-rumped Warblers, Butter Butts, or MYWAs) were busy sallying forth from the tops of the trees. They were flycatching. It’s not unusual to see these warblers flycatching, after all, it’s how they make their living, eating insects. True, these warblers revert to eating fruits and seeds during winter, especially the wax myrtleRead more

Quiz Bird

In winter, one of the most frequently encountered birds on the Trail around the Outdoor Exhibits at the Museum is a rather small, indistinct bird. Before telling you what it is, I thought it might be fun to take a little photo quiz. But first, some hints. This bird is only found in our area in winter (usually October through April). It is largely insectivorous but can switch over to fruit in the winter, especially the fruit of the Wax Myrtle.Read more