American Robin (Turdus migratorius)
The first thing I found was a whole horde of robins. They've been all over the Houston area for a week or more — a sure sign that spring is right around the corner. Several others made an appearance before a pair of the much sought after Rusty Blackbirds finally showed. Rounding out the small count for the half hour were an Eastern Bluebird, a few vultures and crows, and a pair of woodpeckers.
The first woodpecker I spotted was a Red-bellied Woodpecker. But soon after, my attention was drawn to a darker bird of similar size but much more aggression. It took me a little while to recognize what I was seeing.
Immature Red-headed Woodpecker
An immature Red-headed Woodpecker had staked its claim to a nearby tree and was busy venturing from trunk to ground and back catching bugs, grubs and tasty treats. Its brown head was just beginning to show hints of the bright red hood it will eventually flaunt.
Further evidence of its immaturity was demonstrated as it showed juvenile delinquent tendencies, repeatedly launching itself at its red-bellied cousin several trees away and finally driving the other woodpecker from the area.
But the highlight of my lunchtime excursion came from a pair of warblers that ventured down to the damp grass nearby, although it was not so much the sighting as the recognition of these two that got me so excited.
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronate)
I mean, sure, one of them was a "butterbutt." But I recognized it! First time I've ever been able to identify a warbler on my own, and in the field at that. Definitely a milestone worth celebrating!
The second one took a little more work and cross-checking between my Peterson and Sibley guides, but I'm pretty sure I nailed this one, too. If not, I trust someone will let me know and give me another lesson on warblers...
Pine Warbler (Dendroica pinus)
I trust you will excuse the quality of these last two images, but I had to have some proof to share of my milestone.