Yellow-billed Cuckoo

While I was staying in Virginia Beach, I took a trip out to nearby Back Bay NWR for some birdwatching and photography. This trip occurred in late September, so it coincided with fall migration. Because of fall migration, I did not really know what birds I might see. When you add the general dullness of fall plumage (when compared to spring plumage), and my challenges with field identification, I expected to have a fair number of "low confidence" birds, where I was just not quite sure of the identification.

One bird that I had no problem identifying was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo. In my experience, this species is fairly shy, often flying away into cover as soon as they spot you. Sometimes I spot them first, but usually not. Usually I hear them, especially when hiking during the spring and summer in Shenandoah. Their call is very distinctive, and once I learned it, it was very easy to detect their presence during the warmer months.

I feel like I got somewhat lucky in Back Bay. Not only did I see a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, I also managed to get a photograph of one. It is a tad "soft", but I don't care. Since I usually hear this bird, getting any picture is bonus to me. I think the bird I photographed is a first year bird (born this past summer) because the underside of his tail does not quite have the distinct black and white pattern of the adult bird. This bird was stopping over in Back Bay on his way to his winter home in South America.

Yellow-billed Cuckoo

1 comment:

Beach said...

Wow...this is your photograph? Amazing shot. You must have had an expensive camera with quite a zoom for this. Great job!