Summer Comes Early

I want to start with remembering all those that are serving, have served and on the day we officially honor them, those that have paid the ultimate sacrifice so we can continue to live the values instilled in this country by our founding fathers. Those that have given their lives in combat and the families that have lived/live with that sacrifice shall never be forgotten.

Last post I featured a feathered friend that Ron has already been able to check this year …one more importantly… I still have yet to find for our “Average Year” efforts (link here – still not updated). I also noted there was a plan for me to claw back some points. Last Friday Linda and I went to Havana IL and successfully tinned a few sure things. Specifically the Western Kingbird (Link here – why they nest there I have no clue) and the Eurasian Tee Sparrow (link here). Note, if you want to see a limited region for a bird, check out that European Tree Sparrow – basically a small blotch in IL (link here).

Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

Even managed to get 2 more +1s for the year on the way home that Ron didn’t have ..well, yet. Not that I am competitive or anything (wink), but was feeling pretty good gaining +4 on him. Then opportunity knocked. Brothers and I decided to meet mom’s house to start the long process of cleaning it out. This meant Ron would be traveling down perilously close to Havana on his way to the house. My warnings that the birds had already left for the summer were ignored (no trust ha). Sure enough, he stopped by there and picked up 3 of the 4 Friday tallies. Well, that euphoria didn’t even make it past the long weekend.

So, like the previous post, bringing you another red hued bird.

In contrast to the last post, Ron DOES NOT have this Tanager checked off for this year. It is still a few weeks off from the season, but rather than wait, bringing you summer early! A male Summer Tanager to be exact. The official check for this year came while we were down in southern Texas during January. Ron probably missed getting it by mayne 20 minutes thanks to having to head to the airport to catch his flight home. While he had to sit in the airport lobby, Linda and I headed back to the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) in Brownsville. There was a rarity we were chasing there before he had to take him to the airport. I’ll cover that hunt in an upcoming post. For today, just note I managed to tin the Summer Tanager while I was there (and the rarity, but shhhhhh, don’t tell anyone yet).

Hit the jump to continue reading about Ron’s missing check

Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

The pictures from that Texas trip have not been processed yet (I know, I know, although, in my defense, there was over a terabyte of images taken during that month). Instead, I’m going with a sighting both Ron and I had the previous year on Dauphin Island.

Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

A quick confession. I had all these images processed and ready to go over a month ago. While prepping for the post I realized the coloring was waaay off. They looked more like Scarlet Tanagers than the duller Summer variety. I have two monitors on my desk – one I use for processing for prints and one for the web. Our professional photo printer tends to lower color saturations so the second monitor is amped up to compensate for it. Guessing I inadvertently processed on the wrong monitor. Tossed all those images (well, actually saved them in case I ever decide to print them) and reworked them. I try my best to keep the integrity of the bird for my audience. These look much better although the early shots may still be a titch too bright. The next two are dead on.

Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

The shot above also reveals a hint of the yellowish coloring the males lose during their molt to the red breeding plumage. Check out the middle of the wing. I’ll have a post on the female and juvi Summers coming soon, so you will get a feel for their transition. The next shot is a good representation of their deeper/darker red hue versus the more brilliant Scarlet in the previous post. – this also happens to be one of my favorite shots of this species.

Summer Tanager found at Shell Mounds on Dauphin Island in April 2021

The good thing is you really do not have to go all the way to Texas to see this bird. They will migrate further north during breeding season – mostly into the Midwest. We had a couple show up in our woods about a week ago. Waiting for Ron to make a surprise visit any day ha! According to Cornell, the male Summer is the only completely red colored bird in North America. I never even noticed that in all the encounters I’ve had with this species – no black wings like the Scarlet and no black highlights like the Cardinal (link here). They are a welcome visitor to our woods as they are experts at snagging bees and wasps out of the air – those aggressive ground bees have been absolutely out of control here the last couple of years and have welted me up something terrible while working on the lot. Not to be outdone in the brutality category by Shrikes, the Tanager will beat the hell out of its prey on a branch before scrapping the stinger off and popping it down like popcorn. I only have one Tanager left to check off my life list – the Hepatic. Will have to head down to NM or AZ to get that taken care of.

Hope you enjoyed today’s featured feathered friend. Have I mentioned that Ron doesn’t have this checked off yet…no!?!… well, guess what.. Ron doesn’t have this gorgeous bird checked for the current year – nope, nosiree hehehe.

We head out to the Canine Performance Events (CPE) Invitational Nationals soon. Raven has to run against the big boys – wish him luck. Will probably be a bit spotty on responses and posts during this time. Apologies in advance if I am delayed in getting back to you.

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