Saturday, June 06, 2015

Spring Courtyard Birding

The view of the north-western quadrant of the courtyard...
from my second story classroom window. (6/3/15)
Aesop once wrote "It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds," a phrase which reminds of the beauty in even the most familiar birds (and people and things and so on). Just as the spring weather was slow to develop this past May, the aviary activity in the high school courtyard just outside my classroom window is just now beginning to show signs of life. Beyond the sparrows that populate the overgrown "trees" and shrubs growing unabated next to the building (and now reaching to the second story), the area has been fairly quiet. Yes, the common American Robins and grackles have made appearances, too, but absent are some of the more unusual birds of year's past. A suggested by Aesop, the ubiquitous nature of the familiar does not mean, however, that there is nothing to observe.  It can be equally entertaining to watch American Tree Sparrows flit along the grass, fluffing feathers and calmly playing.

American Tree Sparrow, 1 of 4. (6/3/15)
During lunch this past week, I watched this little fellow roll around in the recently trimmed grass for about 15 minutes. The way he repeatedly fluffed himself and rolled(?) about in a fairly small grassy area, it seemed very much as if he were bathing in the blades.

American Tree Sparrow, 2 of 4. (6/3/15)
American Tree Sparrow, 3 of 4. (6/3/15)
American Tree Sparrow, 4 of 4. (6/3/15)
When Northern Cardinals do stop by, their call and color make them easy to find even from the second story window. This dapper fellow dropped in during a drizzly, damp day, so his plumage showed up easily against the lush grasses and leaves. His stay was a short one, so I was happy to have my camera nearby...

Northern Cardinal. (6/1/15)
Northern Cardinal. (6/1/15)
The one real find of the week was my spotting of a Gray Catbird below. I caught a glimpse of him the previous day, but by the time I retrieved my camera he had slipped from view. It had been a grey day weather-wise so my ability to find his a second time was severely hampered. The next day was a sunnier one, and though he stayed out of the clearing where I might take a better shot, I was able to snap enough (thought the perspective was a little awkward) to verify my identification against The Cornell Lab of Ornithology's later that afternoon.

This Gray Catbird's body seems stubbier due to the angle. (6/4/15)
The Gray Catbird's narrow, straight bill is more visible from this angle.  (6/4/15)
With three more weeks of school left, I remain hopefully that the activity will pick-up, or at the very least I'll find some interesting ways to write about the familiar birds that entertain!

No comments: