Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bird: Northern mockingbird sightings........

I had heard about mockingbird (from the Harper Lee  novel 'To Kill a Mockingbird'), but never seen one, at least I was clueless that the bird often perched atop the Brazil pepper tree in Upper Newport Bay Preserve was a Northern mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos). I learned that this is the only species of mockingbird found in the USA. This omnivorous bird dining on insects, berries and seeds lives in urban and suburban areas. Sporting long-tail and a mix of grey, black, white plumage is the state bird of as many as five of the USA states i.e Arkansas, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Texas.       

I spotted this one perched on a wooden palisade of a residential area nearby the Eco Preserve. It lingered on for about a dozen pictures before vanishing into the Canary Island date palm fronds. I found the palisade covered with passion flower vine and abloom with purple-white flowers, being swarmed by many Gulf-fritillary butterflies. Apparently, the bird was waiting for its lunch.
   
During a ramble in our neighborhood, this tall pine with reddish needles caught my attention. Pines are  so common in this part of California, but I had never seen one with such unusual color. A little research later I learnt that summer has rendered the needles dry. Anyway, the tree looked gorgeous. Adding to the splendor was a Northern mockingbird perched on a twig........



And the following two shots were taken years later in San Diego...the bird was fiercely guarding its nest in a bougainvillea hedge...



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