Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Common is Cool

 [Snowy Egret in high, if not highest, breeding plumage, Heislerville, NJ on Sunday. It would look prettier with a background of lush green grass instead of dead Spartina - but wait a month or so, some of the high marsh is already beginning to green up.]

It wasn't just butterflies over the weekend (see below for them), but I didn't get any weekend photos of "rare" birds, most notably not of the Swallow-tailed Kite. That bird, by the way, was a total gift, sailing as it did across the Garden State Parkway as we headed to Cape May for a feast of very good lamb and too much very good wine Easter evening (thanks, Scott!)

No photo - but at least the camera survived tumbling to the front of the car when I slammed on the brakes and went from the left lane at 70(ish) to parked on the right shoulder, fumbling for camera and with seatbelt.

Common is cool with me when it comes to birds, and grows cooler all the time. And we still can learn from common birds. One trick I've adopted is that, when a new field guide comes out, I look up familiar birds to see what the latest guide author can teach. Richard Crossley's words about Snowy Egret, "Leg, bill, and lores change color, so know the size and shape well" are apt at this season, when high breeding condition flushes many birds with their best looks of the year (I do favor Richard's book more each time I look at it, though I won't comment on his"upside down" business... ). Soak up egrets this time of year, that's my advice.

 [Ospreys are back on most of their platforms now. This female waited for her mate to bring nesting material for her to add to the nest on Sunday. This is the nest we visited with last summer - in keeping with the theme of knowing and enjoying common birds, I suspect we'll be back here again, since the nest is located such that it can be observed from close by without disturbing the occupants.]

[Brant will be with us until May, and you've seen a zillion of them, though perhaps not this one. . . and check out the range map for Brant in your favorite field guide, and respect the common all the more.]

No comments:

Post a Comment