Tanager Acne

Well, we are back home from our trip up to Springfield, Ohio for the CPE Invitationals. In general a bit of a disappointment. With the exception of Ruger’s impressive showing in his first ever drag race event, the 4 days of showing (1 practice day and 3 days of actual competition), yielded only one qualifying run in Raven’s 9 attempts. He just seemed off and really wasn’t running at his usual pace. Also a lot more standoffish and too aware of the onlookers and hordes of other competitors to really get the job done. Definitely not a fan of having horse dirt between his toes. I felt bad for Linda as she was having to fight through a nasty cold from the moment we got there. Tough to run, much less coerce a less than enthused Poodle through an obstacle course.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Hit the jump to read more of about our blotchy friend!

Add to all that, the carrot for my cooperation was a planned birding outing with Ron about three hours north at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. A last ditch effort to get some of the migrating Warblers we missed due to canceling the Dauphin Island trip back in April. Can’t seem to catch a break as huge storms came in the day we were supposed to arrive there. Ron got there a couple of days earlier to scope the place out. His assessment, with extent of the expected thunderstorms and the limited target birds he could find, it was probably best just to skip the required 3 hour drive. Raven showing bad, Linda coughing up a storm and throw in a thunderstorm to top it all off.. might as well head home. The good news is, I can finally get to promised follow up on the Summer Tanager post (link here).

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

If you recall, I mentioned in that post, the males go through a color change as they molt into their adult plumage. I also included a shot of a male that was kind enough to reveal the yellowish piping still on its wings. While on that same Dauphin Island trip in April of ’21, a couple of specimens came out to visit still in their juvenile cloaks. This particular one happened to be the second bird I tinned at Shell Mounds.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Linda had just let me out of the RV and was heading off to find a place to park (regular visitors to Intrigued already know what a shit show that was ha link here). First thing I noted was the mass of people standing shoulder to shoulder on the side of the road…more descriptive, the mass of maskless people standing shoulder to shoulder. Having to deal with the ridiculous lockdowns in Illinois (yes, Pritzker, we will NEVER forget), seeing that many people out together enjoying regular social interactions was quite refreshing. As they say, “Dorothy, we’re not in Illinois anymore”. Happily joined the other birders and started looking for targets.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Let the record show this also happened to be very first time I have ever seen a juvenile Summer Tanager. I’m doing good to simply spot the fully matured male hell bent on keeping itself out of The Beast’s view and those things should stick out like a bloody thumb in all the green vegetation. After spotting the Prothonotary, I noticed this little guy hanging out on a branch near the treeline. The contrast in lighting between the bright sun ahead of it and the shadows from the thick trees behind it was extremely frustrating – take a shot “crap”, tweak settings, take a shot “crap”, tweak again, shoot again, “crap, crap, double crap”. The lady next to me probably thought I had Tourette Syndrome (yes, there were more colorful words thrown in to the mix). Finally got things dialed in and got some shots I was happy with. Now the most important part – what the hell was it!?!

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Decided to take the opportunity and enlist the aid of the nice older lady standing next to me. “Hey, god!#$%@$#% lady, what the f$@#%#@$%#n hell kind of $#%@#$%^$#$ bird is that for f’sake?” . Relax, just kidding – I am pretty sure that is how the lady assumed I was going to address her based on my prior mutterings. Rather in my always polite manner asked her if she happened to know what that multi-colored bird was that had caught my eye. “Sure, that’s a juvi Summer Tanager” – “you don’t say!”. Jotted down the new info and did some research later that night.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Not that I doubted her at all, she was absolutely correct. The degree of red varies as they mature from the yellowish/green also sported by the females. The two I saw at Shell Mounds that day had nearly equal amounts of red blotches on them – quite possible they were from the same brood. A few weeks ago, two Summer Tanagers showed up in our woods. One was a juvi that had molted the entire top half to red and the bottom half of the bird was still in the immature feathers. Will have to feature those tins in the future. Good thing I had that Dauphin experience or I’d be searching for weeks in the reference books.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

For a young bird that was completely surrounded by some of the most gorgeous Warblers the New World has to offer, this one was definitely holding its own. In the shot below, you can really see that bright yellow-green piping on the wing feather edges.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Not a lot I can add in the area of interesting facts that were not covered in the previous post. Should probably mention they do eat insects other than Bees and Wasps, although that is an interesting trait of these Tanagers. I also might have left off the fact that the Summer Tanager is part of the Cardinalidae family (same with Western, Scarlet and Hepatic). Makes color sense as they definitely share the same red hues.

Juvi Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island, AL in April 2021

Will call it a post there. Need to get back to work on some new Halloween props for the 2022 Haunted Trail – starting to panic a bit, not much time before October will be upon us and I have a LOT of things still to build!

Take care everyone and hope you enjoyed reading about the juvenile Summer Tanager.

26 thoughts on “Tanager Acne”

    1. Oh well, win some and lose some I guess. We get to do it all again this July in Minnesota so hopefully Raven will get it together by then. If not, he’ll be sleeping in the shed (like Linda would ever allow that to happen hehehe). Appreciate you dropping in Timothy.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, there is always that danger ha! There will definitely be an eye to eye sit down with Raven before making the Minnesota trek. Ruger will probably be starting in the baby division which might spark him to focus more knowing the kids gunning for him.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Ironic the language used was more colorful than the pretty little bird. Well, almost more colorful.
    Cheer up Ruger. Give the other dogs a chance — then smoke them next time!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually Ruger did quite well in his drag race – Raven is the one that didn’t earn his keep. We’ll see how it goes when we head up to Minnesota next month. Linda also had a bad sinus infection during the event so he might have been playing off of that (and he may not have been able to hear her as she was struggling to talk most of the time). All excuses of course that don’t change the outcome. Hopefully he will be more comfortable with the larger crowds now.

      Like

    1. Thank you Reed! Although not a new bird, was interesting to see this transition for the first time. Ruger did okay in his event, it is Raven that delivered the disappointment this time. Maybe he was feeling the pressure knowing his younger brother is waiting in the wings to compete against him next year (and, of course, Ruger was busy talking smack all weekend ha!). Thanks for dropping in Reed, appreciate it.

      Like

    1. Thanks Ted. As we say around here at Intrigued, come for the pictures, tolerate the rambling ha! Appreciate you coming by and joining the conversation.

      Like

  2. Are you shooting with. Nikon 200-500 lens, or the Tamron 150-600 one? In the “wild” I never seem to be able to get that close, even with a telephoto. Sony has a nice 200-600 zoom lens as well for its cameras. jerry

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jerry. Probably 98% of the time I shoot with the Nikon 200-400 F4 end to end glass (affectionately referred to as The Beast as it isn’t light by any means). For small part of the remaining percentage I will add the 1.4 tele to it when I really need that extra reach (Yellowstone for sure and some of the rarer birds where we like to overly respect the distance like Whooping Cranes). When there isn’t enough light to work with I’ll reluctantly give up the reach and switch to the 70-200 2.8 (and swap in the D810 body). I keep toying with getting a 600 prime, but I really do not want to carry that much into the field without adding the mono or tripod that really hampers my mobility. We really benefited from the Dauphin fallout as the birds migrating through there were a lot less skittish, preferring to simply sit and rest instead.

      Like

  3. As I sometimes tell friends, it’s sometimes better to be lucky than good. Nut being good helps. Know of a guy living in Oregon and does really nice wildlife. Told me he choked but bought the 800mm f/5.6 Nikkor lens. He really likes it, but it’s s like buying another car. The i ages are stellar and with a 1.4 tele has a nice reach. I shoot micro 4/3’s using Olympus. Have the m1 2 body and recently got the 150-400 f/4.5 lens. It is sweet, and am trying to gig enough to pay it off. But am glad I got it.

    Just need personally to be a better bird whisperer. jerry

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely on the lucky vs good comment – the number of times my brother, or I, has been a split second late on the the snap when the other one got it is surprising. Envious of the 800mm (low fstop for that size glass as well). I went and looked at the new upgrade for my 2-400 glass with the built in 1.4 tele and decided I could live for awhile without that chunk of change investment. Admittedly, beyond Nikon and Pentax (wife’s camera when I met her – now switched to Nikon), I’m not that familiar with the other camera brands – will say your glass is impressive as well. There’s plenty of room for improvement for all of us on the whisperer front – what makes this hobby so fun I guess – always learning. Appreciate you coming by Jerry and good luck in the field!

      Like

  4. Oh, shoot, sorry to hear about Linda’s cold and Ruger’s off-centeredness! I enjoyed the paragraphs about trying to shoot this little guy & asking the lady what kind of bird he was. You made me laugh out loud, literally! I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a bird with this coloring. He’s a looker! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That cold is still hanging on for some reason and now getting mixed with allergies.. which is making her cranky ha! Ruger actually did pretty well in his drag race – it’s Raven that got all prissy and didn’t like the dirt in his toes – mom will be having a long sit down with him and go through the finer points of food, water, shelter, toys and pets in trade for ribbons and titles. Guessing you have come upon the Summer Tanager in one of your hikes, but in their more brilliant adult plumage. I’m not sure how long this transition takes from the immature feathering, but guessing it isn’t that long so the window is pretty narrow. Thanks for dropping in Lisa, always fun to read your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely no worries at all with the names – doesn’t help we had a Rizzi (Osiris), now Raven (Anubis Nevermore) and Ruger (Li’l Pistol), have to go through the whole series just trying to get the right name when trying to call them ha! Linda is much better now as the antibiotics are finally winning the battle. I keep telling her to hydrate – note, it has turned to sauna here so I’ll keep that mantra in mind as I get my heat conditioning runs in – this morning I was leaving little puddles of sweat ever time I took a stride.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Belinda. For a Gull it was rather accommodating while I was taking its picture and didn’t even ask for food as payment! Appreciate you dropping in and have a great rest of the week (our days are gonna be a bit hot for the next couple of weeks).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Even our pups have off days. Hope Linda is feeling better. Your photos are just gorgeous. This is such a pretty color on this bird. So amazing all the different species there are and they reach to every color possible on the color wheel. That is what I love about birding. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true! Linda is finally getting over her sinus infection – this one really sunk in on her probably due to all the running she was doing at the dog show. Appreciate the kind words on the shots (I just never let you see the really craptastic ones ha). I think that variety is what makes birding so fun, coupled with just being out in nature and taking in all those wonders. I must say, you have really been adding a lot of nice ticks to your lifer list on your extended trip. Safe travels!

      Like

  6. I’m really behind in my reading, sorry. Great shots of the juvi Summer Tanager. I feel your pain with the sun-versus-shade, always a challenge. But you always seem to achieve deep rich colors and great detail. Did you pay him to pose on that wonderful twisted vine??

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No worries at all, I’m way late on responding to all the comments. I can usually deal with the all shade or all sun conditions, but crossing between the two just plain sucks. Trust me, there were plenty of failures in that series no one will ever see ha! If only we could figure out some kind of currency to pay birds to pose for us – I’d pay it in a heartbeat. That juvi picked that wonderful spot all on its own. Safe travels!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s