[Tweeters] Bellevue - Lesser Goldfinch
josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 21:55:37 PST 2014
This morning at about 11:50 AM, I was at Lattawood Park in Bellevue. I
noticed two small birds in a tree at the northwest end of the park, and
decided to examine them, hoping that they would be interesting.
When I got closer, I immediately noticed the closer bird’s golden yellow
plumage, brilliant on this cold winter day.
Confident that this was a goldfinch, I then noticed that on its head was a
black cap that covered the bird’s crown.
The second bird, also yellow flew into another tree, so I focused on the
first one. There were two white patches on the wing that I could see.
I realized then that with a black cap like this, the bird was likely a male
I whipped out my phone, and proceeded to take a few photos and video. The
bird moved around, and called a few times, before flying off into a distant
The call was a quick series of pit-pit-pit. Upon later research, I found a
recording of exactly the call that I heard on Xeno-Canto.org, at
http://www.xeno-canto.org/133956, at the 20-second mark;
also, it can be heard in the Sounds section of the Lesser Goldfinch page at
Allaboutbirds.org, in the bottom recording.
Field marks that I observed: small size, finch shape, short, conical bill,
brilliant yellow below, darker olive green above, dark wings with white
expansive black cap that extended behind eyes (as opposed to stopping at
eyes on American); in addition, American males lose their black cap in
winter through molt,
whereas Lesser males do not, so simply the presence of a cap in winter is a
significant identifying mark. This bird moved around in the tree for about
five minutes before moving off;
it would periodically emit its pit-pit-pit call every dozen seconds.
Though I cannot be sure, the second bird could also have been a Lesser
Goldfinch, perhaps a female.
I have blurry, though diagnostic, documentation photos, and a video
recording of the call, if anyone is interested.
Other birds of note included many Varied Thrushes and robins, a flicker,
hummingbirds, and a beautiful male Red-breasted Sapsucker! Great birding in
a small suburban park.
Good birding, Joshua Glant
Mercer Island, WA
Josh.n.glant at gmail.com
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