Carolina Wild Photo (the blog)

Surprises at the Bird Feeders

by on May.06, 2018, under Rants, Raves & Ramblings

This has been an eventful and surprising week at the feeders and bird bath so far this Spring. It started with a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak. For the past several years we usually saw one at the feeder once or twice in the Spring, stopping here on its migration from Mexico or Central America up to the Northeast and Canada. But this year we’ve not only had two male Rose-breasted Grosbeaks an once, but also three females at the same time. And not for a day, but for nearly a week now.
Male Rose-breasted Grosbeak


The female shown below is but one of three that have been at the feeders for the past six days. The females are so different from the males I had to look them up in the field guide to be sure I wasn’t imagining what I thought I was seeing. I can’t imagine they will hang around much longer, but they certainly have been taking full advantage of the Black Oil Sunflower seeds while they’re here.
Female Rose-breasted Grosbeak

But that’s not the only surprise we’ve had. While photographing the Grosbeaks, we had two more totally new visitors, American Redstarts, pop in for a very brief visit. Had I not been watching for the Grosbeaks I would have missed them altogether. My wife happened to be snapping Grosbeak shots when a male American Redstart came to our birdbath. Luckily she spotted him just as I did and got the great shot below.
Male American Redstart

Then awhile later I had my camera out hoping the Redstart might come back, when the female showed up at the birdbath. It was early morning and the light was not good at all for either of us, but we both managed a decent photo out of it. The female is shown below.
Female American Redstart

Then to top off the week, I spotted my first Indigo Bunting, who was hopping in the grass near the feeders, but not where we could get photos of it. Luck would have it that it returned several times to feast on the sunflower seeds we had out, giving both of us the chance to get photos.
Male Indigo Bunting

The male Indigo Bunting is an amazing rich blue – a beautiful sight to behold. But strangely, the feather texture appears very coarse and rough, unlike I’ve ever noticed before on any small bird. Sharp close-up photos show this more clearly than you would notice from a distance, even with binoculars. I might expect the appearance to look coarse in harsh daylight, but even in soft shadowed light the texture seems rough.
Male Indigo Bunting

Despite this, the Indigo Bunting male is a beautiful bird. I’ve only ever seen one other, some years ago at my mom’s house not far away, but had never seen any at our house. Hopefully this one will continue to visit us.
Male Indigo Bunting

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