Monday, September 8, 2008

Seeing More Red

When is a Redstart not red? When it's yellow.

I had the opportunity to be out and about yesterday. All in all, the day wasn't bad...once the rain passed. I hit the trails at Lake Erie Metropark with camera and bins in hand. While I still have not found that Philiadelphia Vireo, I was with a birder who racked up two more life birds: Black-throated Green Warbler and Wilson's Warbler. Ahhhhhhh, I remember those days. A one mile walk in your home state and you get multiple life birds.

All in all, the birding was good. I can't complain. I managed a photo of an American Redstart. Some of you might be wondering "Uhhh, Paul, I don't see red. You travel all over country and you can't even get the colors right on these things?" Well, folks, it is not a breeding male. They happen to be the flashiest black and red you have ever seen, quite frankly. This is either a female or a first year male. I am pretty sure it is a female.

I think the photo could have been crisper. I really dont like that stick that is in the way. I was thinking of cutting it and then waiting patiently for the Redstart to return to the same spot so I could try again.

Ignore that last sentence.

I also managed a shot of a dragonfly. I can say with 100% certainty it is a Meadowhawk: Sympetrum ihavenoclue, I believe. Actually, I am not sure. Meadowhawk? Yes. Beyond that? Dunno. I know it's not a Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, because the legs are not yellow. (Fortunatley for me, Meadowhawks aren't color impaired like Redstarts...which can be yellow, remember?) It is not a Band-winged Meadowhawk (there is hardly enough room for a soloist, let along a whole band). Unfortunately, the face can't be seen, so I can't confirm White-faced vs. Cherry-faced Meadowhawk.

I am sure there are a few lurkers here who probably know. They have real names, but they call themselves "Stylurus" and "Nannothemis" (which happen to be names for various genera of dragonflies) so their true identity can remain hidden. Secret names online often work. Sometime, people try wearing glasses. It worked for Clark Kent, but Lois Lane was clearly an idiot.

I have to work for the remainder of the week. I hope to get some more time on Saturday. Long range outlooks suggest a chance of rain. I have the day off. You know what that means, right? Rain, for sure.....


JAC said...

White-faced Meadowhawks are pretty common at LEMP.

The most likely (if not that or Autumn Meadowhawk, which is what Yellow-legged is not called) is Ruby. Cherry-faced are oddly enough very difficult to find in this part of the state, but according to an expert I'm collecting them for, the Ruby Meadowhawks are an odd form, some of which are intermediate between Ruby and Cherry-faced. They are not thought to be hybrids, but either forming new species, or examples of where these two genetically-distinct species have not yet morphologically diverged completely.

Sorry if that was too much information!

Paul said...

No, there is never too much information in science. I believe, however, you have a typo that confused me a bit: the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk is now called the Autumn Meadowhawk?

Anonymous said...

That's right, Sympetrum vicinum is now Autumn Meadowhawk, a more appropriate name than Yellow-legged since other meadowhawks have yellowish legs especially when immature.

"Not", "now", whatever. I was only on my first cup of coffee!