Sunday, November 22, 2009

November Tanager!

This has probably been the best birding year yet!  Today we added a new yard bird.  It's the *ninth* new yard bird this year - haven't had that many new ones since the first year we had feeders up!  A very exciting bird, a Summer Tanager.  It was a funny moment, all four of us were sitting at the kitchen table (a rare event).  E. noticed it first.  "What's that?"  The two words guaranteed to get a reaction out of me when sitting next to the watching window!  "Never mind, it was a leaf."  Uh, ok..  Then I. chimed in.  He'd seen it to, and went to the back door to check.  "It's on the grapes!"  Then we all saw it fly from the grapes onto the cherry tree.  Grabbed for the binocs, but it was behind branches!  Agh!  Get the camera, get the camera, GET the CAMERA!  Managed to get a couple of bad photographs.

But what *is* it?  Looks like a tanager...  Can't be!  Maybe an oriole?  Or an Indigo Bunting?  It then flew onto the top of the fence on the other side of the yard, but still couldn't manage a good photo!

It then climbed down for some virginia creeper berries.  Got a couple of other photographs.  Not an oriole, that's for sure!

What an accommodating bird, it then flew onto one of the branches on the now-leafless elderberry, and stayed for a good five minutes or so.  Lots of pictures!  Quite sure it's a tanager, but which one?  None of us have ever seen any tanagers.  Took pictures of it until it flew away.  Figures that today is cloudy, after being sunny the whole week!  So photos aren't the greatest.  NOT that I'm complaining!

Photos online helped out, after a bit of dithering, I was pretty sure ours was a Summer (rather than Scarlet) Tanager.  I'd already eliminated Western Tanager - no white on the wings.  Summer Tanagers seemed to be a brighter color, and more of the same color overall (Scarlets seem to tend to having darker wings) and a bigger BEAK!  An email to the ManitobaBirds email list confirmed our Summer Tanager - probably a first year.  


A great day!  A new yard bird, a rarity, and PHOTOS of it!  And so late in the year! Still riding high...

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