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American pelicans

Spring migration is always exciting, and this year’s has been great! I participated in my first spring bird count at Fountain Creek Nature Center, and was treated to my first red-breasted grosbeak sighting. I also got to see some American pelicans fairly close. I had no idea they were such HUGE birds! We saw many chipping sparrows, violet green swallows, robins, and yellow-rumped warblers (both varieties). My birding partner spotted a western tanager but I missed it, having agreed to take record-keeping duties.

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Black-headed grosbeak

I took myself to a park near my house a week ago and was thrilled to get my second rose-breasted grosbeak sighting! (A friend I garden with, when hearing this, said “Oh, I’ve been having those at my feeder for a few days!” Grrrrrr….) While watching what I think was a female Bullock’s oriole, the grosbeak came in with a couple of male black-headed grosbeaks, along with several female grosbeaks (I’m not good enough at ID to know which type they were). They all flew off in a flock of chattering excitement. So I moved on down the trail and immediately found three male Bullock’s orioles overhead. I craned for about 20 minutes following them around the tree tops. A mystery warbler made an appearance (maybe a Virginia’s?) along with a yellow-rumped…one of the few warblers I can proudly identify.

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Bullocks oriole

I enjoyed watching a hummingbird harass a western kingbird and later a bluejay. And then, finally, on my way out of the park, I spotted my western tanager…and took yet another lousy western tanager photo (I’m slowly accumulating a collection of these). I was just too excited and knew he would move fast. Sigh…see below.

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Western tanager (rare "fuzzy" variety)

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