Birding is always fun, even more so when the seasons start changing. I saw my first warblers of the year yesterday, a couple of Yellow-rumped Warblers. One was a Myrtle subspecies and the other was an Audubon’s. Both are males, I think, but the Audubon’s may be female-the yellow stripe on the top of its head is pretty pale. YRWAs are some of the first warblers I see around here each year. Yellow Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, and Common Yellowthroats are other commonly seen warblers in Hutchinson County and should be arriving in the next weeks. The yellow-rumped parts of these birds aren’t visible in these photos, but it’s a yellow patch on the back at the base of the tail.
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon’s)
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle)
Meadowlarks are year round birds in the Texas Panhandle according to Sibley’s, but I never see them in the summer. I don’t know if it’s because they leave and move north a bit or if they just hide out all summer. Western Meadowlarks are the most common, but occasionally we get the Eastern race as well. Easterns have more white in the face and tail than the Westerns and their songs are simpler, although they do sometimes change their tune a bit when they are around Westerns. This one caught my attention making a metalic zeet, zeet call that the Western Meadowlarks don’t use. Eastern Meadowlark calls and songs. Western Meadowlark songs and calls.
Obligatory Great Horned Owlet photo. The owlets are at least 3 weeks old-I first saw them on April Fools Day, but I don’t know how long it takes then to get big enough and strong enough to be seen over the edge of the nest. I’ve been visiting the nest a couple of times a week since Valentine’s Day when I first noticed the adult pair on the nest. I’ve only seen the female since. They have grown astonishingly fast.