Thursday, November 24, 2005

Intermezzo: Thanksgiving Bird

At least, I think it's a flycatcher. Mary had called me to the window earlier (Wednesday) when she saw a bird in one of our saltbushes. (Saltbush flowers can be seen here.) Each of the dozen-plus shots I took through glass and screen was blurry, but I thought this one was "impressionistic" enough to play with....

I've been trying to identify the bird, which we also viewed in binoculars. If it bobbed its tail I'd call it an Eastern Phoebe, but we saw no tail-bobbing. If it had white wing bars I'd call it an Eastern Wood Pewee, but its wings looked fairly uniformly colored. The body type seems to be a flycatcher's, so I'm going with that. Our Peterson's Field Guide to the Birds of Eastern Central and North America includes Florida in the phoebe's wintering range and places our area at the southernmost part of the pewee's breeding range.

Life in the present day continues amidst my preparing and posting the ongoing series. Mary and I, bundled now in layers and woolen caps against what in Florida passes for cold, have taken wondrous walks in the dark beneath a visible Milky Way. We've dragged foam pads onto our concrete back porch and lay down with binoculars, spying the Andromeda galaxy.

Wednesday morning I took in the portulaca as the temperature dropped below 40 degrees F. The just-short-of-last-quarter moon was almost at zenith. Jupiter rose, having crested the trees.

I had photographed the Monarch butterfly below on Monday and hope it has reached warmer climes. Says the Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Insects and Spiders, "Monarchs are capable of flying 2,000 miles from Canada to Mexico and back again to the southern United States. Millions migrate every autumn, often stopping in the same rest spots each year. Some even fly as far as Hawaii and eastern Australia. In early spring and summer, returning females travel north in relays, new generations replacing old, laying their eggs along the way."

If you look closely, you can see its proboscis arcing up and then back down into the lantana.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice twist on the "Thanksgiving bird." Mine's on my fridge.

11:42 AM  

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