Sunday, May 10, 2009

Birds in Opposition

I found a new place for lovely birding today, along a section of the Provo River that is only infrequently familiar to birders, hikers, and other guests. While it is following along a section of an historic railroad track (one unused on Sundays), it is a lush riparian zone that is home to many birds. Along the way, I spotted American robins, song sparrows, American dippers, European starlings, at least two annoying varieties of swallows that wouldn't slow down nor fly straight enough for a positive identification, and a new bird on my life list - the absolutely lovely yellow warbler. If you haven't yet seen this bird, it's a must to find with its vibrant yellow plumage and lovely red streaking on the chest. Its bright color is coupled with an equally perky personality, as it too doesn't sit still for long periods and seems to enjoy flitting about just out of camera (and often binocular) range. Still, I managed to nab a passable shot of this beautiful songbird.

As we drove home - I'm so fortunate in that these lovely birding trails are not too distant - my husband spotted what he though was a falcon or hawk soaring nearby, and he pulled over to let me take a closer peek. While I do love raptors, I was even more thrilled that it was a bit larger than either a hawk or falcon -- it was a turkey vulture, and another new addition for me to positively identify. The ironic part, however, is that there really isn't any other bird that could be more diametrically opposed to the yellow warbler.

Whereas the yellow warbler is brightly adorned, the turkey vulture is a slaty gray and black. The yellow warbler is a tiny bird that measures just five inches in length, the turkey vulture is five times that size. The yellow warbler is an active, mobile bird that flits through bushes and trees, while the turkey vulture soars slowly at great heights and carefully scrutinizes the ground below.

It's a great pleasure to see such unique and beautiful birds whenever I manage to go for a birding walk. I'm especially excited for next weekend and the Great Salt Lake Bird Festival, but even if those field trips are not as adventurous, it's always grand to know that I have such a diversity of avian life near to home.

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1 comment:

Jeff said...

The Yellow Warbler really is beautiful, isn't it? As you say, very different from the Turkey Vulture.