Fall migration begins

Even before the mornings took a chilly turn, I started seeing a few fall migrants. So far, I’ve seen a Baltimore Oriole, Tennessee Warbler, and an American Redstart. I saw a pair of Common Yellowthroats, but it’s hard to say if they were migrants or they were summer residents who had finally made themselves known.

Here are a couple of views of the Redstart. It’s too far away for a “textbook” portrait, but close enough to be able to see the distinguishing characteristics (particularly the yellow patches at the base of its tail). I enjoy capturing in-flight pictures. Someone I follow on Twitter calls them “blurds.”

This morning brought a Great Blue Heron to the pond. They appear every couple of weeks. It’s hard not to take pictures of such a large, graceful bird, so I have photographs from just about every time one has appeared. This one fished around the south-east corner of the pond, which is where I got the cover image for this post. As I was walking to the dock, I heard the heron croak as it took flight. I thought I might find the heron on the dock, so I crept slowly down the ramp and found that my suspicions were correct. As luck would have it, the sun was almost directly behind it, so I had to play with exposures to capture something decent. But I’m happy with the result.

I also have many pictures of Red-bellied Woodpeckers, but when one lands close to me, it’s hard not to take a shot.

In closing, I witnessed an interesting display this morning. Two Cooper’s Hawks were attacking a small flock of American Crows (four or five individuals). It was hard to tell exactly what was going on. I’m not sure if the hawks were displeased with the crows, if they were trying to single a crow out as a meal, or if the crows were unhappy with the presence of the hawks. One of the hawks was a juvenile, so perhaps the adult was watching over it as it practiced its hunting skills.

More mysterious, neither one wanted to leave. The crows huddled together, but didn’t fly away. The show went on for 10 minutes or so. Eventually the crows flew off, one-by-one. The hawks were still there as I walked away. Unfortunately all the action took place much too far up in the trees (and strongly backlit), so there was no chance to get a good picture. I realized later that perhaps if I had used the video on my camera, I might have been able to capture some of it. C’est la vie. Perhaps next time.

Leave me a comment or a like. Let me know what you think might have been going on between the hawks and the crows.

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