Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mt. Auburn Cemetery Birding

I try to get in at least one day of birding at Mt. Auburn Cemetery each year during peak spring migration.

I made my trip there right on the cusp of peak migration- April 30th. I usually try to get there sometime in late April- early May to see the greatest variety of wood warblers, plus other colorful migrating birds.

The day I was there I got to see some of the usual warblers, and even a lifer for me- the chestnut-sided warbler. Maybe I had technically seen this bird before on a group trip where it blended in with the rest of the birds we saw, but on this day it definitely stood out to me as the most exciting warbler of the day.

Here are some pictures of the Chestnut-sided Warbler preening:

Other (non-photographed) highlights from the day included:
Northern Parula
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black and White Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Baltimore Oriole
Chipping Sparrow

Here's a red-tailed hawk we saw at the end of the day as we were walking back to the car. That's usually where I see them at Mount Auburn Cemetery- in the areas surrounding the main entrance (in the circular parking area, near the entrance to Indian Ridge, near the main office, etc.).

Red-tailed Hawk:

I even have a MYSTERY BIRD to ask for help with. I've tried identifying it on my own, and think it could possibly be a juvenile or female indigo bunting, but I didn't see any male indigo buntings that day, so I can't say for sure how likely it would be to see that bird at Mt. Auburn Cemetery on that date.

Mystery Bird:
The most distinguishable characteristics about this mystery bird are the grosbeak (fat thick beak), the subtle wing bars, and a faint eye line. Click on the images to zoom in more. Thanks in advance for your identifying help!


John (Tucker) said...

Nice chestnut sided. Tough to say on the bird ID. The coloration looks like a swainson's thrush or veery, but the bill is wrong. It looks like a seed eating bill, although difficult to see in the photo.

Starling Man Sam said...

Your guess is probably right; a female Indigo Bunting. The next closest bird it could be is a female Brown-headed Cowbird (6 1/2", 2"longer than a bunting), so it also depends on what approximate size it was.

Starling Man Sam said...

BTW, nice Chestnut-sided photos! Wood Warblers are among my favorites to identify, I have yet to see the Black-throated Green.

Kelly said...

...I love Chestnut-sided Warblers! Lovely photos...
When I first saw the bird a female Brown-headed Cowbird popped to mind.

Christopher said...

A little late chiming in here, but my first impression on seeing the photos of your mystery bird was actually a female Brown-headed Cowbird. Of course, size is difficult to tell from photos but I get the impression that it is bigger and a little bulkier than an Indigo Bunting (closer to house finch in size and shape).
Also (and again it is hard to tell) but the bill appears be all black.
A quick search found me this link which you might find interesting - although not sure it resolves the mystery for you! :)

Congrats on the lifer - Chestnut-sideds are really cool, sweet warblers!

Birdinggirl said...

Wow- thank you everyone for the helpful tips about the Mystery Bird!

I have to agree with everyone- looks like a female brown-headed cowbird to me. Now I know!