Sunday, May 2, 2010

Today's Goodies

As Don has detailed, today was not a day that produced any migration of note at all, but such days somehow seem to be the days when the rarities show up. Here's a couple of photos of today's stare turns.

Note a great photo, more what we would call a 'record shot'. If you think you've found a good bird, getting at least a record shot can really help your case in getting the sighting accepted. A 'record shot' may not be a good picture (or even one you're proud of!), but it should show the features needed to identify the bird. This White-faced Ibis was found by Jim Dowdell today on flood water on the south side of Cape May Airport, along Breakwater Road. Important features visible here (with a bit of imagination!) are the red eye and the pink skin between the eye and bill. It's worth remembering that, despite the name, White-faced Ibis actually has a reddish face in adult plumage. Another feature visible on this bird in the field (though not here) was the golden-bronze rather than blue-green sheen to the lower mantle. If you're going looking for the bird tomorrow, it might be worth knowing that, today at least, this was the only ibis present that wasn't in full breeding plumage! [Photo by Mike Crewe]

Painted Bunting, reported by Gail Dwyer in her yard at Avalon today. The overall green coloration of this bird at first suggested that it was a female; later in the day, the bird was heard singing briefly and closer inspection revealed one or two blue feathers coming through on the crown and nape. So clearly this is a first-summer (or second-calendar year) male. Males of this age are most often the individuals that turn up as vagrants, as they are focused on exploring new areas to set up a new breeding territory of their own. Most likely, such birds will fail to breed in their first year, but will probably return south and make a better job of finding a territory the following summer [Photo by Mike Crewe].

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