A Red-Winged Blackbird displaying in the marsh

Dyke Marsh Nature Preserve in Virginia is a wonderful place. There are nesting Ospreys, nesting Bald Eagles, snakes, turtles and no end of small and interesting birds:

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

There’s one of my favourites, a Red-Winged Blackbird, Agelaius phoeniceus, in the tree:

Red-Winged Blackbird - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The red and yellow shoulder patches on the male are very striking:

Red-Winged Blackbird - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I haven’t seen a female yet; they are brown and mottled. It was a female which landed on North Ronaldsay in Orkney and caused twitchers from all over the UK to travel there, many on specially chartered flights. Orkney twitchers claim European first with red-winged blackbird. For the same price they could have come here to North America. There are 210 million of them here, and not just a sad, solitary lost female. That would be a tick in the wrong box, though.

This male has a serious beak, built like a chisel:

Red-Winged Blackbird - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It’s making display flights from tree to tree, where it fluffs up its shoulder patches so they are very visible and makes strange exotic movements. I’m not sure whether the display is to attract a female or repel a male. Unfortunately it’s pointing the wrong way for me to see its flight properly:

Red-Winged Blackbird - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

I wait and the next time it flies sideways rather than away as it comes past us:

Red-Winged Blackbird - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

When it finally flies towards us it’s too far away and gone too quickly:

Red-Winged Blackbird - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Suddenly it’s in the tree in front of us. What a handsome bird:

Red-Winged Blackbird - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Audubon captured them beautifully:

Audubon - Red Winged Blackbird

Previous Post
Twelve-Spotted Skimmer - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Twelve-Spotted Skimmer

I love how decorative this Twelve-Spotted Skimmer dragonfly is: It looks completely different against this background: And when they are flying, they are ... Read more

Next Post
Mourning Dove - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Mourning Dove

I think I'm in love with the Mourning Dove:

Feel free to leave a Reply :)