The local bird festival was met with pretty lousy weather this weekend. Cloudy overall and a very rainy Friday. One of the festival organizers, Pat Jakobi, is a local photographer who I know through the bookshop. She asked me to sub at her book table this year so I worked there on Friday.


The raptor demo was held indoors due to the weather. It was great seeing some of these birds up close. Here he is with the Kookaburra, a large Australian Kingfisher. Check out a video of this bird’s call and you will immediately realize this is the bird sound they always use in the movies to indicate jungle rain forest terrain. He also had a European Barn Owl, some kind of falcon, and a very large African Raven who was trained to snatch dollars from people’s hands and stuff them in a hole in a box. The kids loved this, heck we all did!

Saturday morning was very overcast, but this is peak migration time so I headed out to Corp Woods not bothering to bring my camera since the light was so crappy. Okay: big mistake. Birds seen: half a dozen Blue Grosbeaks (I thought they were Indigo Buntings at first), a Baltimore Oriole, some Orchard Orioles, two Common Yellowthroats, a Black-and-White Warbler, and perhaps a dozen or more Painted Buntings. The female Yellowthroat and the Black-and-white both came out and posed really sweetly, and the light wasn’t all that bad either so I missed some shots there I think. I did rather enjoy simply observing for a change, free from the demands of operating camera controls. I got to notice that the Black-and-white Warbler does resemble a woodpecker in its markings and behavior. It works the trunk bark like a ‘pecker, finding critters in crevasses, it just doesn’t drill its own holes. And the female Common Yellowthroat came out on some dead branches very near the path and we spent maybe a minute together.

Passerina_ciris-20090208Media Commons photo by Dougjj

The Painted Buntings fled en mass when I turned the corner at the north boardwalk, but two of them landed a short ways away. This is an unmistakable bird, for sure. Looks like a child colored it in with primary crayolas! This bunting is the poster-bird for this year’s FeatherFest, and a life sighting for me (along with the grosbeaks).

I’m headed out there again this morning to try and get some photos.