I recently moved back to Vancouver Island after living in Edmonton for 6 years. I’m living very near to Englishman River Falls which is mostly mixed forest. Walking yesterday I caught a glimpse of a bird with what I thought was some yellow on it, but I just assumed it was an American Goldfinch. Then I heard a call that seemed like some sort of grosbeak. I couldn’t see anything so I kept walking.
Today he flew right across the road in front of me and perched on top of a tree about 20 feet away so I got a great view of my very first Western Tanager!! And my first Tanager ever.
My sister is really into birds, active in the Audobon Society, and taking birding tours. I’ll tell her about your post, and location. I like birds, going on a few birding walks, but I’m not all that good at ID’ing birds.
I had a Snuffalupagus summer tanager in the backyard earlier this year. It was a young male, just moulting from mustard yellow to fire engine red. The species is super rare (rarity code 5, I think) in the Bay Area, and when I uploaded photos to our local listserv, the bird nerds were very excited!
I saw it, I think, six more times over a month. I got photos on four separate occasions. It even jumped in my birdbath. Every time I saw it, there was more red and less yellow.
One local birder came six times to try and spot it, lurking in the rain. Another dear old chap walked around the complex with me for a few hours, lamenting his lost hearing as I pointed out (less exciting species) IDed by ear.
And no-one else saw it, not even my husband. I was very pleased to have photos, so I could prove I wasn’t insane/lying/wrong.
Well, thanks, but you know what they say is the number one factor in the likelihood of spotting a rare bird: proximity to an experienced birder
We had a painted bunting in Santa Clara last month, that was also seriously awesome. I’m usually a solitary birder, but even I enjoyed the carnival atmosphere of the 10+ bird nerds lined up, scope a-ready, and the breathless joy when it finally burst from the rushes. Skulky little bugger didn’t allow for great photos with my cheapy lens.
I’ve been happy about the two pair of rose breasted grosbeaks that are hanging out at our place this summer. I saw the males and females gorging on seed for a while; now we are only seeing the males at the feeder. I hope that means the females are on eggs.
This past weekend my gf returned from riding her horse and insisted I accompany her into the woods. After a 15 minute hike she pointed up a tree. Peeking out of a cavity in the tree was a pileated woodpecker chick (my favorite bird).
Had a very active and noisy hanging Bushtit nest in my front yard up through Sunday. Maybe they fledged very suddenly Sunday afternoon and made a mess ( and bushtits do fledge kinda contagiously all at once ). But much more likely the resident crows picked them off as I’m seeing nobody around all of a sudden and the nest is now more exposed and there is some debris on the ground. Ah, well. Fun while it lasted.
Interestingly, the tanagers that occur in the US (Scarlet, Summer, Western, and Hepatic) have been reclassified and are no longer considered true tanagers of the family Tanagridae. Instead they have been moved into the family Cardinalidae along with Cardinals and some Grosbeaks, including the Rose-breasted.