The warblers are just drippin' off the trees in Minnesota. We had a great day of banding on Friday at Carpenter Nature Center. Note this palm warbler giving itself a scratch in among the autumn leaves. Again, I have to say that the color at Carpenter is peaking right now, and it is a GREAT time to visit.
A surprise thrush of the day, was this Swainson's thrush...didn't they just arrive, I feel like I was just listening to these guys sing as they were migrating north through my neighborhood. After I downloaded my photos onto my computer, I noticed the weird little spot behind the thrush's eye. I zoomed in on iPhoto, and I think those are ticks.
Here's a little bit closer view--and a shot of the bird's nictitating membrane (extra eyelid that protects a bird's eye in flight or while eating). Man, I'm also just noticing how large this bird's eye is in relation to its head--it could give an owl a run for its money on big eyes.
We got in a plethora of vireos and normally this time of year, it's a bunch of red-eyed vireos, but didn't get any of those. But seemed like we were getting anything but. The above bird just confused me. It had a bunch of yellow, so I thought "Ah, Philadelphia vireo!" Alas, no, it's a warbling vireo. That's a vireo I just don't pay that much attention to, the first time I really worked to get a look (you tend to hear them more than see them) I was rewarded with a really drab gray bird. But they can have some splashes of yellow--these are the birds that some birder's describe saying, "If I could seize one, I would squeeze one, and I'd squeeze it 'til it squirts." Not sure what exactly it wants to squeeze or what that birder had on his mind when they made that one up.