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Tuesday, June 01, 2004


I was out snooping around the rural parts south of Raleigh yesterday, looking for interesting things to take pictures of. I found a few things, including the acrobatic little barn swallow shown below; I'll be posting pix here in the next few days.

One thing I saw, while walking around in the woods near Jordan Lake was a black, brown and white bird that I'd never seen before. I tried to get a picture of him, but couldn't get my big lens on quick enough before he made himself scarce. But, I remembered what he looked like, so when I got home, I whipped out my handy Peterson Field Guide and tried to find him.

After a bit of flipping through, I saw what might have been it, a "Black-headed Grosbeak" - except they don't make it into my part of of the country, and the picture in the book doesn't show a head crest. However, right above the Black-headed is the "Rose-breasted Grosbeak"; the big patch of red disqualifies this one, too, but the description of its song was funny:

    Song, rising and falling in passages; resembles Robin's song, but mellower, given with more feeling (as if a Robin has taken voice lessons).

It's always nice to see someone having fun with their job (it gives me hope).

My bird turned out to be the one right below the Black-headed Grosbeak: the Rufous-sided Towhee - a name even stranger than "Grosbeak", which makes it even more interesting. The picture I linked to here shows the little crest on his head - Peterson's Guide doesn't show the crest, and had me believing I imagined it until I saw the pictures on the web. Always verify.

All images Copyright 2004-2005, cleek.