[Tweeters] Bellevue - Lesser Goldfinch

Joshua Glant josh.n.glant at gmail.com
Sun Nov 30 21:55:37 PST 2014


Hello Tweets,


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
Lesser Goldfinch.


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
tree.

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
patches;

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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