Crown Me

Currently, I’m sitting here grounded from running thanks to recent neck surgery.  Good news for you though, since that gives me more time to post – yeah!

Getting right to it.. meet Mr. Golden

Golden-Crowned Kinglet shot in Jubilee State Park April 2014

Pretty cute eh!?! This Golden-Crowned Kinglet was shot back in April of 2014. Yes, I’m waaay behind, but slowly coming to terms with my latency. This colorful specimen was photographed in the middle of Jubilee State Park. For those familiar with the area, the exact location was a small clearing off the road that leads to the back part of the campground. The easiest way to get there is to walk down the pond trail about a third of the way and then hang a left. You might encounter some thick brush, but if you follow the deer trails it will lead you to the clearing which actually sits on a bit of a bluff. This is usually a treasure trove of field birds enjoying the spoils of the open brush with close proximity to the safety at the surrounding tree line. It might be a bit noisy getting to the spot, so you might have to give some time for the birds to get comfortable again – a little patience usually brings a target rich environment.

Golden-Crowned Kinglet shot in Jubilee State Park April 2014

Hit the jump to see a few more images of this Golden-Crowned Kinglet.

Continue reading Crown Me

A Golden Day

I’m back with ANOTHER bird post. I promise the next will not be about birds (fingers crossed I can actually pull that off). For now, I will continue trying to get through the multitude of new birds Ron and I got while birding at the Chain O’ Lakes State Park. Looking back at all the captures we got there puts that day in one of the best I’ve had locally. Maybe even better than my entire trip to North Carolina last year which ended up pretty dismal on the bird front … although I did get a Copperhead (link Copperhead) while out there so that was definitely a plus albeit on my Snake Life List. That would be a list I DO NOT mention in Linda’s presence which is odd in the sense she tends to always be with me when I encounter them!

I better get to the featured bird. There is a wicked storm heading our way and that means there is a high likelihood it will knock out my Internet (life as a country boy). Once again, I have to apologize for some sub-par execution on these shots. These were taken at the farthest reach the Beast could muster. To be honest, it was difficult to even make out any features when I spotted it hanging out in the top of the tree – thank god for the golden rule “If it even looks like a bird SHOOT it”. There is plenty of time left for IDing in the digital darkroom.

A Golden-Crowned Kinglet Shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park

So there it is. A fairly small frame which Cornell’s website describes as slightly larger than a Hummingbird. From my experience it looked a little larger than that. Spotting a Hummer at that distance would have been impossible. Ron gets full credit for IDing this particular bird. Pretty impressive being that there wasn’t a whole lot to go on. The eye line helped but the interesting barring was the tipping point. The white bar was a key element, but more importantly, the notched brown bar was very distinctive. The end result, this specimen is a Golden-Crowned Kinglet. For those counting, this is an official +1 on my Birding Life List.

A Golden-Crowned Kinglet Shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park

Pretty proud of this little catch. We could have easily passed over it especially having just walked a looong way out into the depths of the park. The hike came to an unexpected end when the flooded river left impassable water on three sides – bad news. Sighting this on the way back made the trek worth it. It is possible that the fatigue from the energy spent was the main reason for the fuzzy pictures (eh.. likely not, just poor execution)

A Golden-Crowned Kinglet Shot at Chain O' Lakes State Park

Eeesh, out of pictures and haven’t made it to the interesting facts yet. First off, the angles of these pictures didn’t reveal another distinctive feature of this Kinglet, the tops of their heads have a cool yellow stripe on them – guessing the source of the name. Cornell confirmed the field experience that they tend to hang out in the tops of trees. They spend their Winters across the entirety of the United States. We must have caught this one before it headed off to upper Canada for the Summer. Actually on closer look it might spend the whole year in parts of the West as well. They can survive -40 degree temps. Here’s another odd tidbit – each of the Kinglet’s nostrils are covered by a tiny feather. Wonder if it sneezes a lot. Lastly, the Golden-Crowned Kinglet sports a Least Concern Conservation status – YEAH!

All I got for you tonight – the rain is starting so wrapping this up just in time. See ya’ again real soon now.