Birding right out of the gate

In case you were interested in what I do when not diving, I shoot whatever animals are available:) Most of these birds I shot in our garden in Cozumel: just step outside, load your camera and wait.

Tropical mockingbird is one of the most common guests. This bird has a varied and musical song, huskier than that of northern mockingbird, and may imitate the songs of neighbouring tropical mockingbirds, but rarely those of other birds. It will sometimes sing through the night.

Tried to be artistic:) I really like this bird; look how cute it is in the green!

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Tropical mockingbird ©Marina Kudrya

Below is the tropical kingbird, a large tyrant flycatcher. Tropical kingbird is one of the most widespread and conspicuous inhabitants of open forest, forest edge, scrub and agricultural land from the southwestern United States south to Argentina. Tropical Kingbird has a gray head with a semiconcealed red coronal patch, dusky lores, white throat, grayish olive upperparts and yellow underparts. Tropical Kingbird is extremely similar in appearance to Couch’s kingbird. To me it looks like a close relative to a tropical mockingbird.

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Tropical kingbird ©Marina Kudrya

Meet a bananaquit. Across its broad distribution, however, bananaquits exhibit considerable geographic variation, with no fewer than 41 recognized subspecies; these differ in features such as the color of the throat (white, gray or black), the presence of absence of a white spot on the wing, the length of the bill, and the extent of yellow on the underparts. In addition, on some islands in the West Indies an entirely sooty color morph is frequent. Bananaquits are bold and active feeders, and most often are encountered in pairs or in small family groups.  With a diet of nectar and fruit, bananaquits frequent flowering trees and shrubs where they often cling to flowers.

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Bananaquit ©Marina Kudrya

The following one looks similar to bananaquit, I even didn’t catch the difference at first, but look at its throat. The yellow-throated warbler is a small migratory songbird species breeding in temperate North America. These birds breed in southeastern North America, and their breeding ranges extend from southern Pennsylvania and northern Missouri, to the Gulf of Mexico. One subspecies, from northwest Florida, is resident all year round. The other populations of this species are migratory, wintering at the Gulf Coast, eastern Central America, and the Caribbean. I wonder where did this particular one come from?

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Yellow-throated warbler ©Marina Kudrya

Next one is a grey catbird and is named for its cat-like call. Like many members of its family, it also mimics the songs of other birds and even mechanical sounds. Because of its well-developed songbird syrinx, it is able to make two sounds at the same time. The alarm call resembles the quiet calls of a duck. Unlike the mockingbird, catbird sings most phrases only once. The catbird’s song is usually described as more raspy and less musical than that of a mockingbird.

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Grey cat-bird ©Marina Kudrya

This small beauty is an american redstart. This one I photographed outside of my garden, but I did see it around my home.

It is a New World warbler and it also comes here for wintering from more northern states of USA. This beautiful warbler flits about very actively in the trees, usually holding its wings and tail partly spread, as if to show off their patches of colour. Its song is very melodic, like of the other warblers.

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American redstart ©Marina Kudrya

A bit of colibri time:) These are not quite the shots I wanted; I’m still working on capturing the feeding moments.

Cozumel Emerald is found only on Cozumel and now is recognized as an individual species. This small hummingbird inhabits brushy and scrubby woodlands or second growth, and forages in the lower and middle strata for nectar or insects. Both males and females have forked tails, but that of the male is much longer. Males are mostly emerald in coloration, while females are emerald above and gray below. The call of Cozumel Emerald is a dry chatter.

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Cozumel emerald ©Marina Kudrya

Green-breasted mango is a mid-size hummingbird of tropical America. I captured both male and female, so you can see the visual difference: the adult male has glossy bright green upperparts. His throat and chest have a relatively narrow matte black central area, bordered with blue-green. The flanks are bright green, and the black of the chest tapers onto the belly. Females and immature males have bronze-green upperparts and largely white underparts with a dark central stripe that changes from black at the chin to blue-green on the throat.

This species is partially migratory. The green-breasted Mangos breed in northeastern Mexico from late February through September; and move south for the winter season.

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Green-breasted mango, male and female ©Marina Kudrya

A sparrow-like palm warblers  from the easternmost part of the range are rather colorful, but most others are quite drab; however, they can be recognized by the constant bobbing of their tails. Many Palm Warblers spend the winter in the southeastern United States, especially in Florida and the Caribbean, where they may be seen near palm groves but not up in the palms themselves.

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Palm warbler ©Marina Kudrya

And of course the most common bird in the Caribbean – ubiquitous blackbird! People see it everyday and usually don’t know what this bird is called.

It is a great-tailed grackle (captured female). Males are pitch-black with long tails and females are brownish with darker lower part. You’ll often see great-tailed grackles with other blackbirds pecking for food on lawns, fields, and at marsh edges, vying for trash in urban settings, or crowding in trees and on telephone lines in noisy roosts.

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Great-tailed grackle, female ©Marina Kudrya



2 Comments Add yours

  1. Beautiful, absolutely stunning…


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