Autumn Bobolinks

I woke up in the dark on Sunday morning and was irritated.  I realized that I was awake and since it was still dark out, I assumed it must have been in the middle of the night.  Was it the humidity?  Was it the moon?  Was it that early evening cup of coffee?  All three could be causes of insomnia for me.  Since sleep wasn't coming, I decided to get up and do some writing (Non Birding Bill calls this my acorn gathering time, I generally say yes to a TON of freelance projects in the late summer to tide over the leaner months in winter).  I walked into the living room and was surprised to see the clock read 5:30 am. Waking up at that time would make sense since I went to bed early the night before...CRAP, it's dark at 5:30am--that means the days are getting seriously shorter. I said, "Screw writing." Then grabbed my digiscoping equipment and hit the road.  Gotta enjoy the warm weather and birds while it lasts.

I took in a ton of fall migrants, but my favorite birds were the flocks of bobolinks nibbling on grasses along some gravel roads.  I pulled over and was serenaded by late summer katydids while took photos of the yellow birds as they popped out and then down in the tall grasses.  I'm not sure if this is a male or female, this is the bobolink's non breeding plumage and they both look the same.  If you click on this link you can see what a male bobolink looks like during the breeding season--quite a dramatic change!

I sometimes have trouble remembering that bobolinks are thought to be in the blackbird family--especially in the fall.  They look like large yellowish sparrows.

This is my favorite photo--the bobolinks lurking and hiding while feeding.  The plumage makes sense while migrating.  These birds will also have to contend with the millions of raptors moving south this fall too.  They yellow and brown stripes will help them hide while they feed.

These bobolinks were near some flooded farm fields with lots of shorebirds, I actually went shorebird watching a couple of times last week, but shorebird id stresses me out and I haven't put the photos up yet.  I'll have to bite the bullet and get them up.  Their migration is full on.

If you haven't been out to enjoy some birds, get out there now.  Migration is on!