Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Orange Variant Scarlet Tanager

How rare is an Orange-Variant Scarlet Tanager? I have many photos of this wonderful bird. Here you can see the primaries, secondaries and terts! Scapulars and Coverts are all there in plain view.

The Scarlet Tanager was a weird occurrence tonight. An older gentleman waived me over to a spot on Tilden's Trail. I went over and saw this gorgeous, Orange Variant Scarlet Tanager. It was uncanny, it was so tame, it must have been hungry or distressed. I took many photos of it, then walked away from it. It would just sit on ground level branches just meters off the trail. It even landed on the trail itself and just stood there for a while. Three or four lucky birders along with myself just watched him flutter around in amazement. I even have a photo of this bird with a little shiny green Six-Spotted Green Tiger Beetle.

I stopped by PPNP tonight after work, and was a little let down with the lack of avifauna. My night was ruined by an annoying woman who was demanding that her son "Play da Song Patrick!!" to bring out a YBC. Then, the woman walked off the path stomping on the horsetail? plants along Shuster Trail. I called her out on leaving the path. I'm like, "You're not allowed to do that!  Just wait 10 minutes and it will be out again!".

Later, I saw a guy with not one, but two tripods (one on each shoulder) with DSLR's, Better Beamer Flash Heads Screens, Whimberley heads. Seriously... two???
"A bit of feathered sunshine. In his plumes dwells the gold of the sun. In his voice, his brightness and good cheer." – Frank Chapman 1907. 

I guess I'm guilty of being a photographer, but honestly, I make every effort to follow honest birding ethics. H. Oneil's book touched on the lack of etiquette that seems to be increasing each year.

The photos below are mediocre, but were taken with No Flash, No Tripod, No Ipod, No Blinds or set up posing stuctures.

My goal for driving out to PPNP was really to walk Woodland Nature Trail (WNT) and see the Prothonotary Warbler that has been reported over the last few days, but I did not see it. I wonder if somebody is confusing a Yellow for the later. Sora was seen on WNT by others but I was unable to find it. Somebody also pointed out a cute little Robin's Nest, complete with little baby Robin birds being fed by their mother.

Good Birding,

PS: Another birder pointed up and said, "there are purple finches in this tree". I'm yet to see a convincing male!
Great crested Flycatcher is a cool bird, but I just can't seem to get a great view on the bird.


  1. The tanager's a stunner-- nice to have had it pointed out. I never meet kindly birders in Ontario-- usually get a nod and a wary glance.

    Good on you for calling out that woman, and the double-barrelled photog? Well, at Viera, I was looking at a Glossy Ibis from my car when a guy pulled up behind me, got out, set up his tripod in my line of sight, got off a few shots and put the bird up. He turns to me and says, "Glossies never stay very long." ???

    Rest of the pics are great-- I don't use any extra equipment, either... just having a good time outside.

  2. Stuart, I laughed out loud when I read the comment about the nod and weary glance. lol. I hope I don't come off as preachy or 'holier than thou'. In fact, I'm probably a little envious of those setups. :-)

  3. I must have just missed you yesterday. The Tanager was easily viewed for the ten minutes I stuck around the spot. Absolutely gorgeous. We saw the Prothonotary Warbler this morning in the first Woodland slough if you start the trail on the east/backwards. Everyone I passed mentioned seeing it and all I was finding were yellows, lol .I watched for about twenty minutes because this bird was feeding over the water about 3 yards from the group. It was easily the highlight of my day.

  4. Dwayne, is that a pic of you in the Festival of Birds brochure?

  5. Hey Dwayne
    Beautiful shot of the Tanager!
    This was an interesting read for me, and timely as I started writing a post yesterday that includes a bit of a birder vs. photographer rant. I just started using flash the other day (but just the little pup-up job on the camera) to get some extra sharpness and compensate for my crappy lens. I'm assuming based on what you are saying this is a no-no (excuse my naivety). I thought this would be ok given that it is the daytime and therefore doesn't disturb the birds, although I understnad that it can be a distraction for birders around you so I would avoid it when others are around. I would also never do this to an owl at night, for example. So I'm interested to hear your further thoughts on this...I certainly don't want to become one of those annoying photographers (although I feel like they don't differentiate between us anyway).

  6. Dwayne, That's funny that you would mention the friendliness of birders. Today we reminded each other to smile at other birders because sometimes we are concentrating so hard we forget that our faces could look mean. When we got the Golden-winged, we made a point of following it until more birders came along so we could help them see it. We encounter more nice birders than aloof. Oh, and about ethics! Yes! Maybe they should post the birder's code of ethics in the visitors' centre?



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