Curious Catbird

This is one of those species where birding by ear really comes in handy. The Gray Catbird (Dumetella carolinensis) prefers to hide deep inside thick brush (which is duly noted in the name, dumetella derives from Latin for thorn thicket).

I stalked this character for at least 30 minutes and this was the best shot I could get. Lucky for me, it was a bit curious about me or I would have never had a chance.

Helpfully, they have a distinctive mewing call that led to their common name. When the mood strikes, the males of the species can outperform a mockingbird in a singing contest.

Fun Find

Allow me to introduce my new little friend, Gator Greg.

I “discovered” him in a neighbor’s trash* last week. How could anyone throw him away? He’s adorable!

Oh sure, he’s a little rough around the edges, but aren’t we all somedays? I think he’d make a great Muppet, he has a slightly bemused look befitting a member of that troupe. Then again, I often have that look when out and about in the world…

I love “folk art” and became even more impressed with Gator Greg when I found out he was carved from a coconut husk.

* I’m not a true dumpster diver but when something cool is peeking out the top, I just can’t resist.

Water Colors

Usually, water with high levels of tree detritus turns brown from all the tannins in the plant matter. So these bright green leaves and cloudy white puffs in the water on Weedon Island certainly caught my attention last week.

The striking chartreuse color on the left could very well be due to the presence of the aptly named Yellow-green Algae (Xanthophyceae sp.).

As for the other photo, in the field I thought it resembled the cloudy atmosphere of Venus. After importing the day’s images I discovered that it was an egg mass. Look in the lower righthand corner, you’ll find some developing creature staring back at you.

Nature never ceases to intrigue me!

Flying Solo

I recently met this adult, non-breeding Black-bellied Plover (Pluvialis squatarola) on the beach near my house. The big bill is a standout feature on this, the largest member of the plover family.

The other key identifier is that they do not flock together. Unlike other plovers, this species was practicing social distancing before it was cool.

Talk about racking up frequent flier miles, these plovers winter along all the US coastlines but their summer breeding range is way up north of the Arctic Circle.