Thursday, November 19, 2009

A flight of redwings

After too much rain, with more on the way, I needed to remember this, from a summery day, barely two weeks back:

In a field of tall grasses, redwing blackbirds were harvesting seeds. I parked and took photos through the windshield, while Laurie crept up to them, one cautious step at a time. From my vantage point, just about level with the tops of the grass, they reminded me of a boiling pot, with black bubbles constantly popping up and falling back into the stew.

Only a small part of the flock was visible at any one time; the rest were at the roots of the grass. And still, I counted over 150 in this "bubble".

An overflow in the road across the field.

Laurie got one step too close, and the entire boiling rose up ...

swarmed around his head ...

sped across the fields ...

and disappeared into the distant trees.

We weren't sure whether they were starlings or redwings until I blew up the photos. Most are in drab; females, or youngsters with a bit of patterning on the wings. Only a few are adult males; on these, the flash of red is barely visible against the sky.

A Skywatch post.


  1. Wow, great shots

  2. wonderful shots

  3. Wow, that must have been incredible to be in the midst of. Super shots.

  4. I always remember seeing redwings in the marshy fields near my grandmother's place. Maybe because it was California in the summer they were always sporting really red wings. Isn't it amazing how different it is from October! This week I saw our first snow up at the cabin. But the warm rain last night melted most of it. Come see. - Margy

  5. One of my favorit4e birds! Love these pics.

  6. Great shots of the redwings in flight!

  7. These are some great shots of those birds! Wow, there are a lot of them!

  8. Stunning photos

    We have crows and also the biggest starling roos in wales near our house - 3 million in a good year.

    I wrote about them here. Do go and look.

  9. Wow! Great shots! They didn't drop any little "presents" down to you on their way up and around, did they???? Hope not........

  10. Great shots, It is awesome to see large flocks of birds. The RW Blackbird is a neat looking bird.

  11. Thanks, all!

    And new friends; welcome! I'll be visiting your blogs, too, from now on.

  12. Great analogy...and very fitting. They're beautiful, and it must have been delightful to watch them, some obvious and some not, always moving. Very cool!

  13. Redwings and other many other icterids can form these huge flocks. It is an amazing thing to witness


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