Thursday, June 11, 2015

Day 5: (un)Common(ly) (gorgeous) Grackles

Thursday means banding at Chippewa Nature Center with public spectators. Today I got to give goose feathers I found to excited kids witnessing the wonders of birds.
A crowd of seasoned birders show up regularly as well and it's interesting to hear their bird tales and about their other interests: moths, butterflies and dragonflies alike.
Today was filled with grackles and red-winged blackbirds.
Comparing female (left) and male (right) red-winged blackbirds
Common Grackle

Our first juvenile of the year at Chippewa was this grackle. It doesn't have the iridescent head of an adult male. 

Red-winged blackbirds can be seen flying all over- especially in fields. The pond at Chippewa is ringed with a plethora of them, yet they are not the most common bird caught and Bishop caught very little when he began banding at Chippewa.
We caught around five today- more than Bishop caught in his entire first summer. Grackles are also tricky because they are large enough to get themselves out of the nets. We caught three today. 
A local high school student came banding with us for the first time. He will be working with us and a teacher of his for about four weeks through a new science program Alma is hosting. 

Monroe and a hairy woodpecker

Last week I found and odd green sphere with brown dots at the ecological station. After I found a slightly different, odd, green ball today, Bishop taught us about plant galls.

Gall broken open
Plants form galls, like warts or tumors, to fight against mites, fungi, larvae and other invaders. They form a gall around the perceived threat. Different plants form different galls. Some take the forms of bumps on a leaf.
We found an iris bloomed along the trail.

 Beside all the red-winged blackbirds and grackles we had several firsts of the summer.

Juvenile cardinal

The translucent bits may have formed during a period where the bird was not getting enough nutrition.

Krista and the first song sparrow

First cowbird- the joke is, if it looks really indistinguishable, it's a cowbird.

We found some mud tubes along a swampy patch of path, probably crayfish holes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment