Friday, May 14, 2010

May 14: Primary Colors

This morning I led a bird walk at the Ducktrap River Preserve. The birds were relatively quiet, which is understandable given how chilly it was--I wore my fleece gloves almost the entire time. A highlight for everyone was a pair of scarlet tanagers. We heard the male's husky, robin-like warbler off in the forest and crossed our fingers that he'd cross our path. The bird gods heard us, and eventually the bird flew close enough so everyone could enjoy good looks at his brilliant red coloring. He posed and sang. But we soon realized he wasn't putting on a show for us. Teed up on a tall pine nearby was a lemony-green female tanager. For a while the two birds perched together, giving us a field guide view of the plumage differences between genders: bright red male, bright yellow-green female. Probably a mated pair at that. As we admired them, a blue jay flew into a nearby tree, rounding out the color wheel and thoroughly brightening an overcast morning.

Red bird, yellow bird,
blue jay: primary colors
on forest's palette.

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