[All photographs copyright, Gary Nunn 2015] – Frustrated by the Cabrillo National Monument being closed this morning, due to a triathlon event, I detoured to Point Loma Nazarene University to check for migrants along the well wooded east fence line. Walking up on my favorite spot, just near the student garden area, I flushed a very interesting drab “wingbarless” Passerina bunting. It was feeding on tall seeding grass heads as this genus of buntings love to do. My gut feeling, on the brief look, was it looked a bit too long tailed and larger billed for Lazuli Bunting, and was the wrong drab coloration, cold and grayish, and without prominent wing bars. I decided to wait, and then wait some more, until finally it returned, to the first seeding grass patch, and showed itself much better. It was indeed a very drab looking first fall Painted Bunting Passerina ciris, most likely a female based on the limited green feathering present. In fact viewed with binoculars it just looked completely drab gray and washed buffy yellowish about the underparts. But examination of photographs shows limited bright green feathers on the back, shoulders, and possibly upper tail coverts as well as extensive buffy yellowish underparts. Looking at the photographs back home there is a greenish coloration about the head and upperparts, but definitely difficult to perceive while directly observing in the field. The flight feathers appear completely juvenile and faded brown in coloration. It put on a good show, for a growing crowd of local observers, continuing to feed on the seeding grass heads. I captured some nice images as it jumped up quite high up off the ground to pull the seed heads down.
Yet another magnificent display of bird finding and photography!
So again, you’re the man. Another great find. Con-grates!
The pic’s are cool. At first glance I thought, where’s the green I should be seeing. But when clicking on the image it expands and the green becomes obvious. Well done, young man.
Did you get your new 400 yet?
Hi Dave! Thanks! Yeah you have to investigate pretty carefully to see the green feathers! I did indeed get my new 400DO II lens, loving it! All the pics of Painted Bunting were taken with it. Amazing image quality but sure is a pretty penny!