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.

KookaburraKookaburra

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.

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