Sunday, May 20, 2012

Yellow-headed Blackbirds & other Cool Unique Bird Sounds Horicon Marsh NWR

A male Yellow-headed Blackbird looking all regal, Horicon Marsh NWR, WI; 5/13/2012.
Just last weekend I posted some pics of female Yellow-headed Blackbirds from a flock of all females near Portal, AZ, that I took during my Springbreak in April. At the time I was happy to see my first Yellow-heads in six years. But was dissapointed that there were no males in the flock. Then last weekend on Mother's Day, Val and I drove up to Wisconsin to visit my parents. We stopped for a brief side trip at the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge to see if we could find any interesting birds.  The moment I stepped out of the car at the parking lot for the 'floating boardwalk" trail, I heard that rusty gate hinge sound in the distance, the sound that only a Yellow-headed Blackbird would make. Sure enough, one we got out onto the boardwalk, I saw a guy with his spotting scope aimed at some Yellow-heads in the distance cattails across the water. My camera barely could pick up a view of them. But it was cool to see the black body with a spot of bright yellow on top. I took a few obligatory long-distance pics and moved on to other birds.
Yellow-headed Blackbird, Horicon Marsh NWR, WI; 5/13/2012.
When it was time to go - we had to meet some of my siblings and my parents for a Mother's Day brunch, I saw another Yellow-head fly into the cattails that were along the roadside - a much closer picture worthy location.          
"STOP!" I yelled at Val (who was driving), and almost leaped out of the car before the wheels stopped turning. And there was my beautiful male Yellow-headed Blackbird posing nicely for me (Top Photo). While I was focussed on it it took off flying and landed even closer (Above).
Yellow-headed Blackbird, Horicon Marsh NWR, WI; 5/13/2012.
He gave me some good looks, and I was happy to oblige by taking his portrait. While taking his photo, within seconds of eachother, I heard three other bird calls which always make me smile: an American Bittern was "Gallunking" somewhere within the same cattail marsh, along with the "whinny" of a Sora Rail, and then joined by the howling of a Pied-billed Grebe. The trio was rounded off with the "grating rusty-gate-hinge" of the Yellow-headed Blackbird, a quartet of my favorite unique bird sounds. Only a whip-poor-will and a Loon would have made it the perfect concert.

1 comment:

~Val said...

So happy to have seen this beautiful guy, and to learn his distinctive call.