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Nature in it's glory

Nature in it's glory

Oct 13, 2011

New bird: a mystery for me

The forest is silent and feels empty, so it's kind of strange being out on bird watch, especially when you realize that the birds that were going to leave are surely all gone.  Sometimes there are stragglers though, and some birds coming  from the north might over winter here, or try to, because it is somewhat warmer.  Still, I was surprised when this week's bird watch outings presented me with both a new bird and a mystery rolled into one.

When I first saw this bird, perched at the top of a very tall tree in the distance, I thought it was a crow, after all Crows seemed to be numerous and everywhere at the same time at this time of year.  But there was something different about this bird that nagged me, so of course I had to start taking photos.  As soon as I began taking photos, I realized the bird's shape and posture was all wrong for a crow.  This bird's wings were too long, either that, or it's tail was shorter than that of a crow.  So I started circling the little forest to try to get closer to it and get some shots in better light.

New bird in the distance
New bird a little closer

I followed a small trail into the forest, through some brambles and under some bushes and trees to get to a little clearing, where I was hoping to have better light and a clear line of sight.  Here I took a few more photos, but the light still wasn't good enough and I decided I needed to get closer still.   Now in order to do that I had to be very careful where I put my feet, since there was no trail.  And that's when the bird decided to move to another perch.   Although I managed to keep him in sight, I missed the chance to get a photo of him in flight.  By this time I had myself nearly convinced that this might actually be a woodpecker of some kind., because his bill was long and slender, and it seemed to me, slightly curved.

Closer  view from below
New Bird calls  out
However, as you can tell from lower of the two photos near the top of this post, if you click to enlarge it, his tail is the wrong shape.  It doesn't have two points which would mark him as a woodpecker.   There was also the fact that he seemed to have yellowish, clay colored wings when viewed through the camera in the right light.

New bird on different perch
Assuming new posture

When the bird landed on his new perch, he was lower down and in somewhat better light, but that didn't help me identify him.  In fact it made things worse.  First off he was again further away and  a side view only served to confuse me more, since now he seemed to have taken on a reddish/purple hue, with a dark spot just under the throat which is lightly colored.  Or lighter than the rest of him in any case. He also had black or dark patches at the shoulder.  This is when I began to wonder if the bird's feathers were iridescent.

Just before the bird took flight again and I lost sight of him altogether when he dove down into the forest, I got the biggest shock of all.  This bird is bearded, as you can clearly see in the photo just above. He made  to sing, or otherwise use his voice to make himself heard, and the beard feathers stood out and away from his throat.  Now I could also see by his posture that his wings are clearly very long.  So what bird did I have recorded on my camera?   I went home and immediately searched all my favorite websites and all of my books, and came up empty.  Naturally, I am totally stumped. So if you happen to know what species of bird this might be please message me.  Thanks.


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