April 15, 2006 [LINK]

More purple finches

Purple finch M I finally got a decent (though shade-obscured) photo of a male Purple finch today. As you can see, they are actually raspberry in color, or perhaps magenta, but not "purple." Dozens of females and a few lingering males have been in the neighborhood recently, engorging themselves on tree buds. In back you can see the tip of the tail of a female Purple finch. When lighting conditions are bad, it can be hard to tell a Purple finch from a House finch . [Males of the latter species have red heads and rumps but less color on the back side. Both male and female House finches are more grayish overall, with a square-tipped tail, whereas Purple finches are more brownish, with a notched tail. Finally, Purple finches sometimes display a slight crest, and have a more musical song.]

UPDATE: While going for an evening stroll behind the Staunton-Augusta Rescue Squad, I saw some Chimney swifts for the first time this season. Their constant twittering up above is one of those sure signs that summer is near. I also saw a pair of Downy woodpeckers at their nest hole, a Hairy woodpecker, a Flicker, and a Tree swallow, plus the usuals.