There’s seeing a bird and then there’s seeing a bird. Every so often you come across a bird that will throw you through a loop… like momentarily looking at a loved one with the perspective of a stranger.
I had two such encounters when I birded on Saturday. While I was at Cushetunk Lake, I followed the stream path, came across a patch of activity so I plopped myself down on the sun-warmed bank and watched the activity. Across the creek there was a plump, rose colored gray bird that gave me good pause. I didn’t have either my camera or my phone with me, so I had to note all details by memory. When I returned to the car, I perused my Audubon guide and then at home I looked online for confirmation. It took awhile and I was never fully satisfied with any individual photo, but a composite gets me there.
- Point A: The breast of the individual I observed had no streaking. In fact the bird looked as though an artist had come by and smoothed away all streaking.
- Point B: The beak was definitely yellow. Inside too, I believe. I was watching this bird eat the remains of berries on the bushes.
- Point C: This was the most puzzling part. The head was predominantly brown with a rose patch… imagine a reverse of the right bird’s face.
- Also, the wings appear to have some black and white more than the brown in either image.
For these points, I conclude I observed a Purple Finch. I’ve not had
many encounters with them, but hopefully the next Purple Finch I spot will be an easier identification.
The second bird was a bit easier to figure out. As I was finishing my time at Round Valley, I came across four ducks swimming in the one portion that wasn’t frozen. They all bore striking resemblance to female Mallards, but they weren’t. My phone wasn’t sufficient for a photo, so I ran back to the car and grabbed my dying camera. I got a few shots – enough for me later on to identify it as a Gadwall. Woo!
No new life birds, but two new birds for 2013: Purple Finch and Golden-Crowned Kinglet. Currently at 71 species for 2013, and 31 for February.