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Mindy Smith

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Everything posted by Mindy Smith

  1. Saw this bird this morning - May 3 - at about 11 am West Bloomfield MI mixed in with 2 Tufted Titmouse (titmice?), two ruby-crowned kinglets, a yellow-rumped warbler, Chipping Sparrows and a robin. Only got this shot amid all the activity. A fairly new bird to me so want to be sure.
  2. I also see faint spotting on the outer tail feathers - also helpful in differentiating downy from hairy. Too bad you couldn't see the beak - much larger in the hairy.
  3. Was going through some unknown photos and took this one when walking along a path above the ocean in central costal CA in February last year. The only bird that is close in size and color without wing bars that I know is a blue-gray gnatcatcher but the colors don't seem right. Suggestions appreciated.
  4. Obviously these two are easy to confuse. I lean towards Brewer's for the three and thicker beak is helpful (so the second for me is a toss up) but the voice might be easier to help distinguish them. The Brewers is a more pure tone and somewhat lower squeak and chuck sound and the grackle is more high pitched and several-toned squeak (like a squeaky gate) and I usually hear a few chucks. The Cornell site is great for sounds.
  5. Birding in Robert Long Park in southeast Michigan (West Bloomfield) and saw this warbler with a group of palm and yellow-rump warblers. Beautiful blue back (slightly darker than blue-gray gnatcatcher), two white wingbars, no eye ring but white line above the eye. Only got this one photo and no blue "necklace" so thinking female? Thanks in advance.
  6. In Mid-Michigan, West Bloomfield area. Saw two small birds, high-pitched song darting in and around a spruce. Unable to get clear picture but saw distinct black stripe at and above eye and yellow top, but only clearly saw this once. Also distinct white wing bar with dark below. Sorry for the blurry pictures but my camera is difficult to focus amid branches (bird is center in both pics). Have seen many ruby-crowned kinglets but not golden. Thanks in advance.
  7. Agree with above. Saw my first scaly-breasted munia (also called spice finch) just a few weeks ago in Pismo beach Oceana campground area. I also think your picture may be an immature as the adult male, as you likely know, is quite vivid red with scale all along the breast. A photo of the bird with the male that I saw, one that I assumed was an immature or female, is included although not a great photo and has coloring more like your photo.
  8. Agree with horned. I recently learned that the horned sit lower in the water than the eared making them look less fluffy. Much easier when they are in breeding plumage. I made a mistake reporting a distant grebe as a horned on ebird and was corrected using this distinction. Attached are pics of both that help with this.
  9. Thanks. I thought about Swainson's but the wings didn't seem long enough (according to Cornell site), and I have only seen this hawk once before.
  10. Was birding in the rain at Merced NWR yesterday. Saw this hawk (first three pics) and either the same one or a similar one in a different location (next three) on the auto route later that afternoon. Is this a Harris? Couldn't see the tail clearly. Also not sure about this sparrow. Thanks in advance.
  11. Found a similar nest at Lost Lake in Fresno, CA. There were bushtits and ruby-crowned kinglets nearby so wasn't sure about the owner.
  12. Two groups of about 24 individuals seen at Kern WLR in central California today. Legs looked dark but not as dark in the pictures so now really confused. Size about 6 inches. Also saw this hawk - shown back and front. Is this a juvenile red-tailed borealis? Thanks in advance.
  13. Saw an estimated 200 mixed group of "blackbirds" at Merced WLR in Merced, CA. Need a little help sorting them out (the noise was incredible). There were red-winged black birds and tricolored, a few yellow-headed, brewers blackbirds, some starlings and some great-tailed grackles - some were clear to me and some were confusing. In the first picture, is that a female Brewer's in front of the yellow-headed and tricolor blackbirds? In the second picture, what birds are you seeing and is that a Brewer's on the far right or a great-tailed? The third picture is that same bird on the far right. Beak looks wrong for a great-tailed grackle but the tail seems too long for Brewer's. Finally, who is the female in the 4th picture? Merced is a fabulous place for birding; we recorded 50 species two days ago. Four days ago there were about 10,000 snow/ross geese. Two days ago there were about 3200, so they are on the move.
  14. Was at the Fresno-Clovis wastewater treatment plant yesterday and saw what I think are three different types of swallows all together. I think I caught all three in the attached photo - Bank, Cliff, uncertain, and two Tree. Is this correct? Also, saw nesting hawk at the top of a dead palm that I was uncertain about. I had seen several red-tailed hawks and one that I think was a Cooper but didn't get a good look at it flew by. Last was a gull that was sitting in the road, afraid injured but it never got up as we passed in the car so I didn't get a look at the legs. Any thoughts on which immature - was thinking herring. The eye in the first photo looks dark but in the second light. Thanks in advance
  15. This conversation is really helpful. Also never thought of a hybrid but it makes sense and the last bird does look like the bird in the above link. Adds so much to the complexity of birding but will try not to be too discouraged as such a novice. Nice to be in this community for learning.
  16. Meant to add that I am sure that none of these were California towhees. They were around as well but not up in the tree. Attached is a photo of the towhee that was also on the trail and closer to the ground. A great place for birding.
  17. Sorry, the first three are of the same bird and there were white-crowned sparrows nearby but I didn't see any adult white-crowns with this small group. The second bird was with the first as well as a few others that would not hold still enough for a photo.
  18. On Bob Jones Trail in San Luis Obispo county today and saw a mixed flock of sparrows. Please help with this ID. The last one looks like a gold-crowned.
  19. I think this there are a few cackling geese in this mixed group of Canada and two white-fronted geese on the Bob Jones trail, San Luis Obispo CA, on golf course lawn. They were similar in size to the white-fronted and seemed to have the short black with more abrupt take-off from the forehead. Golfer's startled the group and the final photo is of one that I suspect as Cackling with the white-fronted.
  20. Seen flipping over leaves on Bob Jones Trail in San Luis Obispo county, California today. I think it is a Swainson's but is a new bird. Did not call or sing. Seems to me to be duller than Hermit thrush with more spotting on underbelly and not as bright cinnamon color tail. Thanks.
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