Suddenly our temperatures have gone from 60's to 80's and the migrants have arrived in force. This is a fun time of birding year when the winter residents are still here, the summer residents are arriving, and migrants are passing through.
Today, White-fronted Geese flew high overhead in messy V's, while Tree and Violet-green Swallows squabbled over their nest gourds. A Red-tailed Hawk dive-bombed an Osprey that got too close to the hawk's nest. Moving through our hedge row were various warblers, Empidonax flycatchers, a Chipping Sparrow that flew out after insects for hours, a very vocal Bewick's Wren, chickadees, White- and Golden- crowned Sparows and more. Meanwhile on the lawn a hold-over Varied Thrush foraged along with the resident California Quail. A pair of Canada Geese that live in the neighborhood (wild but not very) hung out on our pond all day. The Red-breasted Sapsuckers that live here haunted the big poplars while a Downy Woodpecker drummed, as it does daily, on a dead limb. And, of course, the Rufous Hummingbirds flitted about with a male giving his display dive over and over.
Here are a few photos I took today in breaks from spring chores...
Flying insects everywhere turned all the birds into flycatchers today, including this handsome Starling, feeding young already, naturally.
A female hummingbird haunted our wood pile. I couldn't tell if she was finding insects or tasting the oozing sap.
And now for the questions. Is this blurry duo a couple of Orange-crowned Warblers? Or two different species? What are they or is it possible to tell from this lousy photo?
And lastly, but most importantly (to me): Is this blurry small flycatcher a Hammond's? That's my guess and I hope I'm right because I've never been sure enough before to mark one down as having been on our farm. If the experts say this is a Hammond's, it will make species #145 for my farm list.
Whether I get to add a new species to my farm list or not, it was a great day for birds on the Fink Family Farm.
Update! ... It's a Hammond's! I had to send Dave Irons six more blurry photos (I love digital cameras) before he could tell but here's what he says:
I think that it is pretty safe to assume that this is a Hammond's for the following reasons.
1. Hammond's is a common breeder and the expected migrant (of the Hammond's/Dusky species pair) in Yamhill County.
2. The bird appears to be up in a tree at least 20' off the ground and seems to select perches within the canopy. Duskies tend to perch lower (usually within 12-15' of the ground (often lower) and they usually select perches on the exterior part of a bush or small tree.
3. Even though the images are blurry, the general shape and proportions of the bird are evident. It looks to have proportionally larger head with a squared off hindcrown and the tail doesn't look very long. Duskies are proportionally smaller headed, more round headed, and they have a proportionally longer tail.