This was a week for Golden-winged Buntings and some other creatures that did not always fit their given names.
Every winter since 2007,when we first saw a Grasshopper Sparrow in the wetlands near our Florida home, we have looked for another. This past week, while walking along a weedy patch next to a lake in our subdivision, I saw a small bird fly up and almost immediately drop down again out of sight. With patience, we coaxed the bird up into view by squeaking, and to our surprise it flew over to a bush and posed for photos.
This migrant Grasshopper Sparrow is more brightly plumaged than those native to Florida:
This photo illustrates its distinctive central crown stripe and provides only a glimpse of one of the small bright yellow patches at the bend of its wing that gave the Grasshopper Sparrow its original name of “Golden-winged Bunting:”
More somber in its beauty,this bird was named, not for the Greek goddess, but for its weak call. Famous because it was the first wild bird banded in America, by Audubon himself, the Eastern Phoebe is a common winter visitor:
Blue-gray Gnatcatchers are certainly bluish gray, but they expend more effort catching spiders and caterpillars, than flying after gnats:
A visit to Chapel Trail Nature Preserve in the neighboring city of Pembroke Pines provided us with great views of an aptly-named Red-shouldered Hawk:
Exotic Purple Swamphen populations have rebounded in spite of a campaign to exterminate them, but we worry that the gunners may have knocked down the population of similarly-colored Purple Gallinules:
Here is a Purple Gallinule for comparison (I grew up calling them Florida Gallinules):
At Tree Tops Park in Davie, Florida, a Green Heron roosts on the boardwalk railing, but it shows not a trace of green:
My telephoto lens had a limited field of view, and I could not catch the egret’s entire reflection:
However, a white bird flew close by– another egret? Its green legs and bluish beak tipped with black revealed it to be an immature Little Blue Heron:
Dragonflies are starting to increase in numbers. Here is a Halloween Pennant:
White Peacocks lack feathers, and were numerous this morning: