Everything BUT An Oriole

So, part of my goal on Saturday was to get some photos of orioles--I really don't have any recent ones. A pair had finally shown up at Mr. Neil's so I thought I would go out, play with his new dog, and put together our comb honey supers (yes, I'm being optimistic for later this summer). I set myself up near the feeding stations to try and get some photos of orioles on the jelly feeder. The rose-breasted grosbeaks were incredibly accommodating. They were not in the least bit shy about all the hammering Non Birding Bill and I were doing. One pair even engaged in some..."marital relations" right on the tray of the copper Aspects feeder--daring!

The goldfinches were very easy shoot as well. This male kept cracking me up--he kept raising his little "crest". I'm not sure what was getting the finches so excited, it's a bit early for them to be nesting, but it was cute.

I have a hummingbird feeder called a HummZinger set up right next to the jelly feeder for the orioles. I decided to just aim the scope on those feeders just in case the orioles finally decided to make an appearance. A male ruby-throated hummingbird came in and lurked at the feeder. He took sips of nectar in between curious glances my way.

It was a glorious day to be outside. Look how the sun hit that hummingbird's ruby throat above--nice! The chorus of birds was unbelievable. A male scarlet tanager flew in and sang above me in an oak tree. I played my birdJam and he flew down, gave me once over and then stayed in the tops of the trees. It was interesting to see how quickly he figured out the song was nothing to be alarmed about--a fake. I wonder if they pick up on recordings being the same timing and phrasing every time?

I played the oriole call, and they didn't respond at all.

In the afternoon I heard one of my all time favorite songs--bobolink! Poor Non Birding Bill was dozing in the grass when I first heard the song. I gasped loudly and yelled at Bill, "Do you hear that?!" He jerked awake and said, "Huh? What's wrong? Where?" He was not as excited as I hoped he'd be at the idea of seeing a bobolink. I snuck over to the field where the song was coming from (and near the beehives) where at least four male bobolinks were singing out a territory battle (almost as choreographed as West Side Story). I managed to get a few photos--nothing great--but proof of the bobolink. I thought to myself, "How is it that I can get a bobolink photo today, but no oriole?" But, I still had time.

When I walked back to my supers, a male pileated woodpecker was on the suet log. I managed to trip over a frame and not scare him off and get a photo. Okay, a pileated photo and no oriole? Mother Nature has GOT to be toying with me.

I set the scope back towards the nectar and jelly feeders and managed to get a few more fun ones of the hummingbird. I love the above shot. He's on his way to chase out another male who wanted a chance at the feeder. I thought that while I was hammering away that I should brush up on my warbler calls. I'm one of the field trip leaders at next week's Detroit Lakes Bird Festival and need to be on my game. I like how the birdJam has a warbler playlist with no narration so I can just let that go and test myself. I had my iPod on my portable speaker and was going through the calls: song--black-throated green, song--blackburnian, song--blackpoll, song--blue-winged...when the next warbler came on, I noticed I could still hear the blue-winged. I turned off the iPod...

...and ten feet above my head was a blue-winged warbler! Let me tell you, it took some pretty fancy maneuvering just to get this shot as I tried to angle the scope straight up. The blue-winged sat there for at least five minutes, completely aloof to my straining below (and I kept the birdJam off the whole time). He was pretty mellow and even tucked up one of his feet in a relaxed position. He eventually flew away and then continued singing his buzzy "bluuuuuu wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing" call below.

So, did I get the oriole photo?

No, just another grosbeak shot. But hey, if I have to miss an oriole, I appreciate the pallet of colors I got from all the other birds on Saturday.