This is a weekly bird report written and photographed by our Interpretive Guide and Birder John Brush.
Editors note: there is one image of a dead bird in this post that may be disturbing to some.
Thanks to finals this week my brain was working awfully slow this morning – some IDs took a lot more time than usual – but it ended up being quite the birdy morning anyways! There was bird movement all over the park, whether it was flycatchers, chachalacas, or a Green Jay making a cameo at the Ruby Pond feeding station early on.
A Black-crested Titmouse (this picture taken earlier in the year), was singing profusely from the Mexican Caesalpinia over by the anacua pond as we first stepped out. In Black-crested Titmouse, apparently both the male and females will sing the typical 3-note song, but it is much less common in females.
There were also quite a few of Empidonax flycatchers present in the park. Distinguishing members of this genus from each other is quite a challenge. At first, in the field, I wanted to call this an Alder flycatcher, but after reviewing several sources (and partaking of some caffeine) I’m confident that is in fact a Least Flycatcher. It was very brown on the back, not much contrast in the face, big headed, and not as large a bill as Alder/Willow would have.
This subtle beauty is a Painted Bunting female – instead of the “Siete Colores” its more just one or two shades of green. Notice the big, conical bill; several females were down eating the seeds of a grass by golf course fence.
The Wild Sight of the Morning (substitute for bird of the day), was this dead Long-billed Thrasher fledgling. (Caution: Image may be disturbing to some.)
Upon closer inspection, we saw that it had gotten caught in the thorns of a granjeno. James asked a good question on whether it could have been a shrike that did the impaling. Given the location (more in the thorn forest than in the open), I’d say it is unlikely. Fledgling birds are often a little gawky and clumsy – my thinking is that this bird misjudged a small flight or took a bad step and managed to get itself caught. Poor bird, but a fascinating testament to the idea that not even birds can always go unscathed through our thorn forest.