Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Cloud of Red-winged Blackbirds: for Camera Critters

I have always enjoyed collective nouns and was quite delighted when I discovered that one naming option for a group of Red-winged Blackbirds was 'cloud', for that's what it appeared to be when I saw a 'cloud' of Red-wings lift from the field and fly a short distance before landing again. Some other collective choices are cluster, grind, flock and merl.
We have been waiting for the past while to see some Red-winged Blackbirds show up at our feeder area and we were beginning to wonder if there were any left in the area. So we were really very pleased to find the answer to our question in the Maugerville Sheffield area today and we're hoping that a few will maybe fly over our way within the next few days so I can include them on my October Yard List.
The flock was quite large and they were very beautiful against the fall foliage. This appeared to be a flock of mainly females but the red epaulets on one told us there was a male among them.



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40 comments:

Pam Croom said...

Excellent shot! He posed for you-flashing those epaulets!

Thanks for the words. Isn't fascinating the sway words hold over us?

Ruth said...

I like your cloud of blackbirds. Ours left in August but a couple of weeks ago I came across a noisy "cloud" of them in trees by the river. I have also see a very large group of cowbirds in a cornfield in the past week.

me ann my camera said...

Pam:
From the distance we really couldn't tell if they were Starlings, Grackles or Blackbirds, so I was delighted to find the red epaulets when downloading.

Yes, words are fun and the 'cloud' image was just perfect I thought! Glad you enjoyed too!
ann

me ann my camera said...

ruth:
We usually have quite a few stop over at our feeders during their migration flight but so far none this year. Maybe we'll get some next week. I haven't seen Cowbirds for a long while although they used to be quite visible here.

abbey meadows said...

What a wonderful spectacle. I still remember seeing those birds on my only visit to the states 18 years ago.

bobbie said...

Seeing clouds of birds always gives me a thrill. Amazing, how they swoop, all seemingly knowing exactly where each belongs in formation.

me ann my camera said...

bobbie:
Its as if they are following the guidance of a magic wand, flowing like waves over a sea of grass. Maybe we could invent a new collective noun for birds that flow over the grasses, like a 'wave'!

Mary said...

How good that they showed those red patches for you! I just see "clouds" of blackbirds and don't have a clue usually which ones. I love that collective noun...it's perfect! Two of the art blogs I visit occasionaly do funny sketches for different collective nouns (I think it might be a meme) Your photos are great and I love the one in the header! I finally added couple more birds to my list. A Mockingbird showed up just this morning.

me ann my camera said...

mary:
Congratulations on the Mockingbird. I added a Junco yesterday but my October bird list sadly remains to be quite under stocker. Its not a good time here for feeder birds; most of the regulars and transients have now moved on south and our winter birds haven't shown up yet.

Collective nouns are fun!
ann

June said...

I've got a red-winged blackbird this week too...though yours looks like a different variety than mine.

lisaschaos said...

These are one of the types of birds I am so used to that I often overlook. Yours do look different than the ones I'm used to.

Great clouds!

scienceguy288 said...

Wow! Right in the swarm! I assume you did that with zoom, but it is still a cool shot!

Sandy Kessler said...

now there's a lot of autumnal color !!sandy

me ann my camera said...

june and lisaschaos:
Most of the Red-winged Blackbirds in my photo are of females except for the one male that stands out among the cloud by showing his red epaulets. The female has no red on her plumage.

scienceguy:
Yes, I used a zoom and that is why I wasn't sure what species the group was until I downloaded the pictures later at home and could see them closer up. My zoom brings the magic closer!

Dirk said...

Nice to see, well captured and good pictures.

twobarkingdogs said...

Very pretty! Thanks for Sharing.

Pls stop by both blogs for lots of critters!

www.twobarkingdogs.wordpress.com
www.onevintagephoto.wordpress.com

ratmammy said...

wow these close ups are fantastic!

Carletta said...

Lovely images with the fall foliage.
I love the last shot showing the male against the foliage - terrific shot!

Deborah Godin said...

Terrific shots, especially those close-ups! Wonder if a 'cloud' of red-wings qualifies for Skywatch Friday post (tee hee)! I, too, am interested in all those strange and sometimes wacky names for groups of things. Even more curious about who got to pick them...

me ann my camera said...

deborah:
How about a 'murder of crows' or a 'parliament of owls' (maybe some wise M.P. thought up that last one up). Collective nouns was always a fun lesson to teach to my classes. Hmmm... a cloud of blackbirds for skywatch, why not give the boundaries just a little push, maybe.

Ladynred said...

Wow! these are stunning shots.

Faye Pekas said...

Definately a cloud. The last two shots where you can see the red area are wonderful.

Amanda said...

Beautiful words, beautiful photos!!

Rambling Woods said...

Funny..I had some at my feeder this morning..Now a big crowd but a few noisy males..

Reader Wil said...

Very nice post. I've never seen those birds, they look very beautiful wth that patch of red on their wings.

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Love the autumn colours in the background of these shots, nice post.

fishing guy said...

Ann: Amazing group, I saw 150 in a group the other day.

Lapa37 said...

Your right they did look beautiful against the fall foliage.

Margaret Cloud said...

Nice photos, reminds you of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". I only see about six at my feeders a summer, I have never seen them flock, you did a good job of capturing them in flight.

Becky and Gary said...

Excellant pictures Ann. I haven't seen any RWBB's around here in a long time now. They hung around my feeders mostly all summer, but like the Robins all of a sudden you discover they are gone.

babooshka said...

Absolutely stunning shots.

Yen said...

WOW! Absolutely stunning series of shots! I specially like the last one:)Mine is posted HERE. Happy CC!~

Kay said...

Wow! I've never seen such a large flock of them before. Gorgeous!

Richiesliv DÅ och NU said...

Lovely birdies!

Their colour fits to the fall. Love it!

lv2scpbk said...

Neat photos and nice catch for CC.

Leora said...

Love the colors in all your photos. So painterly. The browns provide such a great foil for the brighter colors.

Denise said...

Hi Ann, these photos are absolutely amazing and I thank you for teaching me something new today, I also saw a 'cloud' of blackbirds down south in a field that had been harvested a while back. It was such a thrill to see thousands of them. I love all the other photos you've posted and as I have been away for a couple of days am looking forward to catching up. Thanks for visiting mine.

2sweetnsaxy said...

That must have been something else to see. Great captures of this "cloud". :-)

kjpweb said...

Wow! That truly is something! As was your sweet chipmunk!
Cheers, Klaus

Misty Dawn said...

These photos are spectacular! I love how you were able to capture the colors in the wings in those last shots.

Yes, I've seen something similar to this, and you are right - "cloud" is very appropriate.