Sunday, January 31, 2016

Brambling! - 30 Jan 2016

Since it was first spotted by Dan Bertsch below his feeders in Medina County, OH on 19 Dec 2015, this Brambling (Fringilla montifringillahas been THE bird to see in Ohio. I was late to the game, but this morning I decided to drive the 2.5 hrs to Allardale Park on Remsen Rd. in Medina, OH to look for the Brambling, which was reported again yesterday making its routine stop at the last house on the left just before entering the park. This bird represents a 2nd State Record for Ohio.

I've always said that the quality of the bird is inversely proportional to the quality of the photos that record it, and I took some truly bad photos today. Therefore, it must be a great bird...

However, in my (and everyone else's) defense, shooting conditions were not that favorable. Distance (150') indirect sunlight, shade, and traffic made sharp digiscoping images difficult. But I'm satisfied that I got enough fair images to describe the bird: a medium-sized finch with mottled-brown-gray-black hood, thick yellow bill with a black tip, orange chest and shoulder patches, white belly with dark spotted flanks, brown back with black and white wing bars. From the back you can see dark stripes on either side of the gray-brown neck.

Native to Europe and Asia this finch is known for its somewhat gregarious migration behavior. Scattered records are found in North America each year, but typically only in the northernmost latitudes like Greenland and Alaska. Interestingly enough, Michigan has 5 State Records with the most recent coming from Alcona Co. in April 2015 (same bird?).

I arrived at the house just before 8:30 am and learned that the bird hadn't been seen since yesterday afternoon. Mr. Bertsch came out and chatted with us for a few minutes before heading off on errands, and the bird arrived at about 9:55 am. I managed a few digiscoped images of it while it foraged on the ground among American Tree Sparrows, American Goldfinches, and House Finches. It then flew to the bushes next to the house a perched for a few moments before flying off in the direction of the park. Among other birds seen were Red-winged Blackbirds, Blue Jays, Northern Cardinals, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Downy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Brown-headed Cowbirds, and Dark-eyed Juncos, including on partially-leucistic bird.

Lord I was born a Bramblin' Man, 
Tryin' to get an image and doin' the best I can,
And when it''s time for leavin', I
I hope you'll understand,
That I digiscoped it, man


Sandra said...

I think conditions must be mostly bad in that spot. I haven't seen a really good photo of it yet. But it is fun to see. I did the pilgrimage last week and had my turn.

david boon said...

Dickey Betts been in touch?

GIgato said...


I've had your posting on the Grosse Ile Nature and Land Conservancy in the back of my mind for awhile, and when the GINLC got a generous donation, I proposed a bird blind at the GBU. We are going ahead with the project, with USFW agreement. Then I read on the NANPA about grants and plans being available. We are not photographers in any sense of the word, and we were hoping you would talk with us about the needs of constructing/locating a blind.
John Leon
Treasurer, GINLC

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