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Small sparrow-style Texas birds, and some sort of tail-fluttering black bird. (1 Viewer)

Tired

Well-known member
United States
These were taken at a small low-water bridge over a shallow river. First picture is a different individual, 2, 3 and 4 are all the same one. They both looked about sparrow-sized, and were hopping around in a small tree, not doing anything too remarkable as small birds go. I lost track of them before I could get closer for better pictures. That second one is a yellow-rumped warbler, right?
What are some good resources for learning to tell the difference between various sparrow-like birds? Is there a book on something like "bitty striped American birds and how to tell them apart"?
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This guy was in the top of a tree, shouting. He kept fluttering his tail around, rapidly fanning and closing it. I can't particularly describe most of his calls, but a couple of them sounded like the rusty-gate noises a common grackle makes. He looked about as big as a grackle typically is, but I didn't see others around and I've never seen a grackle flutter like this. He also didn't have the shiny blue head a common grackle has, and the tail looked a bit shorter. I couldn't see any other colors on him, just the black. Any thoughts?
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If anyone is near Austin, Mankin's Crossing might be worth checking out. I found it because of all these INaturalist sightings. I saw at least one species sandpiper-shaped bird, though not well enough to be sure if there was more than one species. There was a flock of about 10. I also saw a belted kingfisher, a couple of duck-shaped birds flying overhead, and a nice variety of assorted birds I didn't get a good enough look at.
 
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Microtus

Maryland USA (he/him)
Supporter
United States
#2, 3, and 4 in the first batch are Yellow-rumped Warblers. The first one might be too. Looking at the second photo in the second batch I think it might be a male Red-winged Blackbird.
 

KC Foggin

Super Moderator
Staff member
Opus Editor
Supporter
United States
Yellow-rumped Warblers for the top group and possibly a Starling in the bottom group
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
I thought red-winged blackbird as well, but he definitely didn't have the red wing parts. I got a good look through my binoculars before taking the bad picture. Do they ever not have the red wings? A bit large for a starling, and I've never seen a starling fluttering its tail around that way.
 

raymie

Well-known member
United States
The last two photos show a Red-winged Blackbird, the rest are Yellow-rumped Warblers.
 

Tired

Well-known member
United States
Oh, you're right, there is a tiny sliver of red! I didn't see that in person. I wonder why he wasn't showing the patch off, since he was up in a tree being showy? Will have to see if I can spot him again when he's in a more display-prone mood.
 

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