Indigo Bunting! Bobolink! Raven! All in ONE DAY!!
We went out to find Bobolinks. My son saw his first Bobolink a few days ago, and I was determined to see (and photograph) one of these whimsically named birds, myself. We had only 1 hour for birding today, and we started at the Barber conservation area in Sherborn.
My son heard the song of a wood thrush, and went into the brush after them. They have a melodic song that both my son, Pete Wrublewski, and Roger Tory Peterson describe as "flute-like." Perfect description! I went to the meadow hoping for a Bobolink, and saw Brown Headed Cowbirds, instead. We were headed to the car for destination #2 when I saw a flash of blue which I would have sworn was an Eastern Bluebird. Pete insisted it was not a bluebird. He thought it might be an Indigo Bunting, and a moment later we realized he had nailed it!
The sun was behind thick clouds, which is why the photos don't do justice to the gorgeous coloring. It was clearly NOT a bluebird, though. Smaller with blue all over and no white anywhere, as opposed to the bluebirds white underparts and rusty red breast. The Indigo Bunting also has black wings and tail, where the Eastern Bluebird does not. You'll know which bird is which by color alone, though, if you get a good look. The Indigo Bunting is much brighter. The starling color will take your breath away.
I never thought I'd see an Indigo Bunting! They are small and fast, and I have long since given up on such birds. I don't do warblers and such, either. This was an unexpected thrill for me! The Indigo Bunting is now on my life list. If you want to see one, look up and pay attention whenever you hear what sounds like a cardinal. I'm not joking; they sound virtually identical!
Five minutes later we stopped at a field near his apartment and immediately spotted a Bobolink! My very first ever! And even better looking than I had hoped!
The male Bobolink has a jet black body with bright yellow behind his head and neck when breeding. Do you know of any other black birds that display with starting splashes of color like that?
A Red-Winged Blackbird, right! The two species are related, and it is easy to confuse the two if all you see is a silhouette. Both Pete and I took photos of Red-Winged Blackbirds today, thinking they were Bobolinks!(Doesn't he look like he's wearing a yellow hood from this angle?)
I had one more surprise waiting at home. The long suspected Raven turned out to actually be a Raven! He was eating the seed my husband had emptied out on the ground, so I could easily see exactly how large he was compared to everything else in my backyard. How could I have doubted for a second that this was a Raven and not a Crow? It is MASSIVE! HUGE! THE SIZE OF A RED-TAILED HAWK - I swear!
Next time I'll have pictures.