Monday, July 23, 2012

Monday, July 23rd, 2012 counts as the 34th day of summer. On day of the American Goldfinch, find a goal to pursue in the remaining sixty days, as the Goldfinch pursues its mate, its family.

I have a bucket list for animals to find during the sixty days remaining to summer. Pessimists are telling me of summer's approaching end, believing our season wraps up with the last day of August. I say let us not rush the seasons. I was astounded to see the glowing ball of sunset at the end of Grand Haven's south pier. The sun is making its way south along the horizon, shifting its sundown location towards Holland. Summer is moving towards fall, but there's still time to see each item on my bucket list. Let's begin with mammals first. I might have to spend a few days in the Upper Peninsula to complete the mammal list.
 
  1. Coyote
  2. Bear
  3. Raccoon
  4. Possum, live and not dead in the roadkill collection.
  5. Fox
  6. Wolf
  7. Cougar
  8. Elk
  9. Moose
  10. Mole
  11. Fisher
  12. Beaver
  13. Wild Boar
  14. Feral Pig
  15. Rat
  16. Mouse
Let's folow with birds
  1. Woodpeckers
  2. Golden Eagle
  3. Green Heron
  4. Bank Swallows
  5. Trumpeter Swan
  6. Raven
  7. Pheasant
  8. Woodcock
  9. Snipe of any species
  10. Bluebird
  11. Owl of any species
Let's follow with fish and water animals
  1. Steelhead
  2. Walleye
  3. Bullhead
  4. Smallmouth Bass
  5. Perch
  6. Goby
  7. Leech
  8. Painted Turtle
  9. Asian Carp
  10. Brown Trout
  11. Catfish
  12. Carp
  13. Sturgeon
  14. Silver Perch
  15. Sunfish
  16. Bluegill
  17. Pike
  18. Muskellunge
  19. Freshwater Clam
  20. Sea Lamprey
Any person good enough to help me with my summer quest, I shall make sure the world knows about your wonderful naturalist skills.
 
I was watching a patch of wet asphalt, and I saw a pulse of yellow. I thought I was looking at a yellow cabbage butterfly, and then it took off and flew around the parking lot. The yellow bird had a bright golden coat of feathers, and it flew in a pattern reminding me of a bumble bee. It had to glide and lose a few inches of altitude every few seconds. I saw a second bird of the same shape, and I assume that one of the birds was female. I didn't notice which one had a greenish cast to feathers, sign of a female American Goldfinch. The two made for the swamp, and I was pleased to have collected a delightful story for my summer series.
 
Like the cardinal, the goldfinch eats seeds that color its coat. Breeding time takes place in late July because many of the preferred food plants are seed rich now, perhaps the thistle and the mullein. It makes a nest that is watertight out of bark, vines and grass. The silk of spiders and catepillars reinforces the rim. Plant down from milkweed, thistle and cattail line the cup. The American Goldfinch make one nest a season, unlike the Cardinal, which makes three for each brood.
 
The American Goldfinch makes a big show when it arrives at a birdfeeder to eat. The feeder my mother and father kept up to the first week of August last year was kept stocked with nyjer thistle to keep Goldfinches playing in their picture window. My mother ceased to fill the feeder after August 8th, 2011, when she unexpectedly became a widow. I understand that no one has visited the farm this summer to trim the grass, and the thistle seed had to be heat sterilized. So none of it would take root. So I am not sure what that line of American Goldfinch have turned to after that meal ticket ran short.
 
I am happy to see that an active group of birdwatchers in Muskegon County counted 6 Spinus Tristis at the Henderson Preserve, Wednesday, July 18th, 2012. That's one of the scientific names for the American Goldfinch, but I think Carduelis tristis is better. Cardulelis relating to a Latin word for thistle. Goldfinches love thistle. Tristis relating to a Latin word for sorrow. Yes, as I ponder my parent's American Goldfinches, I am tristis.
 
 
The Muskegon Bird Blog talks about all the recent sightings. I would like to report a bird that reminds me of a Kingfisher but flies like a jay and perches on posts above flowing creeks and rivers. I saw two of these today. I must find a camera that allows me to take zoom pictures for later reference.
 
Photocredits:
Description Carduelis tristis
English: American Goldfinch. Canada Rondeau Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada.
Fran├žais : Chardonneret jaune. Parc provincial Rondeau, Ontario, Canada.
Date May 2007(2007-05)
Author http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Mdf
 
Description English: This lady Goldfinch was munching away on some tasty flowers at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, VA.
Date 7 September 2008(2008-09-07)
Source http://flickr.com/photos/sherseydc/2838396776/
Author http://www.flickr.com/people/sherseydc/
 
Description Male (left) and female (right) American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) at a thistle feeder.
Photo taken with a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ50 in Johnston County, North Carolina, USA.
Date 2007-05-13 09:56-05 ISO 8601
Source http://www.KenThomas.us
Author Ken Thomas
 

 

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