The skies were either cloud-bound or spotlessly blue. Here is the entrance to nearby Nelson Lake preserve in Batavia, on a beautiful morning in early May:
The Orchard Oriole is one bird which I have had trouble locating and photographing. It often mixes in with the much more colorful Baltimore Orioles, and seems to prefer to hide amid the leaves in the treetops. Its song is fairly distinctive, and I have heard it much more often than I have seen the originator.
A bit drab, the male can appear to be all black in poor light. Indeed, orioles are members of the blackbird family, but the Orchard Oriole is smaller than any of our other native blackbirds. It breeds over the eastern half of the US into central Mexico but its range generally stops short of Canada and does not include the Florida peninsula. It winters in Central America. It spends relatively little time on its breeding grounds, arriving in May, raises only one brood, and usually departs south in July.
By way of comparison, here is the more conspicuous Baltimore Oriole, which is bright orange rather than chestnut brown:
This was my first decent image of an adult male Orchard Oriole, obtained back in May, 2013:
Last year, also in early May, another male cooperated with me:
Immature males and females have yellow plumage rather than red. Younger males, up into their second year, have varying amounts of black on their face, head and upper breast. I first thought this one to be a female, but the heavy shadows on its chin and chest obscure the markings of a young male (May, 2015):
This spring, on May 12, at the Japanese Garden in Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva, I documented an adult male in a horrible photo:
To compensate for such a poor showing, here is the fenced gateway to the Japanese Garden:
In late may, before returning to Florida, I heard the distinctive song of a sub-adult male Orchard Oriole coming from high in a tree along the trail in Lippold Park. It kept moving from one tree to another, usually flying away just as I brought it into focus. Mary Lou helped me track its meanderings, but continuing my run of bad luck despite my best efforts, I wasted many migapixels on blurry underbelly images and sky shots.
Here is a typical shot, heavily cropped...
...and a few more:
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Linking to Misty's CAMERA CRITTERS,
Linking to Eileen's SATURDAY'S CRITTERS,
Linking to FENCES AROUND THE WORLD by Gosia
Linking to WEEKEND REFLECTIONS by James
Linking to BirdD'Pot by Anni
Linking to Wild Bird Wednesday by Stewart
Linking to Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday) by NC Sue
Linking to ALL SEASONS by Jesh
Please visit the links to all these memes to see some excellent photos on display