Send in your good photos, please, as I can always use more. Today’s contribution is “The Breakfast Crew: Part 5” by Doug Hayes from Virginia. His notes are indented:
More of the backyard birds here in Richmond, Virginia. Also, I went down to the lake at Forest Hill Park, which has mostly been a bust for bird watching this summer due to the crowds of people and their dogs. The park is about a block from our house and the trail down to the lake is about a quarter of a mile. I got lucky Sunday and was able to photograph a juvenile Green heron (Butorides virescens).
A male Downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens) at the small suet feeder. Over a dozen sparrows were mobbing the larger feeder, so the woodpecker had the smaller feeder to himself – for a few minutes.
Able to hang upside down, the Downy woodpecker could eat in peace.
Everything was fine until the house sparrows (Passer domesticus) showed up.
The juvenile Red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) has become a regular at the feeders. The darker feathers on top of its head will eventually turn red. As they cover most of the bird’s head, this one is probably a male.
A standoff between a European starling (Sturnus vulgaris) and the juvenile Red bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus).
An acrobatic European starling goes for his morning meal. [Note added by GCM: Reader Glenn Butler suggests, and I concur, that this is a grackle.)
Northern mockingbirds (Mimus polyglottos) have been showing up in larger numbers lately.
This is one of several new male Northern cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis) that have been hanging out in the backyard the past few weeks.
This female Northern cardinal was gathering nesting material. Getting ready for another round of babies?
A juvenile Green heron (Butorides virescens) perched on a floating log. I took a few long distance shots, then walked towards it. Usually Green herons are a bit skittish and will fly away when they spot people. This one was very calm and continued to preen and just hang out, even though I was only about 25 feet away.
From time to time, the heron would pluck twigs and bits of bark from the water. At first, I thought it was mistaking the debris for fish, but it was being slow and deliberate about gathering the objects. I later found out that Green herons are tool users: they will use insects, bits of food and twigs to attract fish to within their reach.
I watched the heron for almost half an hour. It finally moved into the trees near a small creek that feeds into the lake.
Camera info: Sony A7RIV digital camera, Sony FE 200-600 zoom lens plus a Sony 1.4X teleconverter. The indoor shots were with the camera mounted on a tripod with gimbal head. The lake shots were all hand held.