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Everything posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. When I say No Bueno to calling them all non-breeding adults, I mean that I'm personally against lumping them ALL that way when I report them. If I can identify their sex, then I'll try to do that. If I cannot determine their sex, then I'm fine with calling them non-breeding adults. This is only my personal preference, and the way I try to report birds that I photograph. Of course everyone else can report them as they like.
  2. Yesterday I encountered three different large flocks of Horned Larks in western Iowa. Each flock also had a sizeable number of Snow Buntings embedded within them. This is a new lifer bird for me (Yeah!). I understand this time of year, I'm likely to only see non-breeding males and non-breeding females. According to Cornel Labs "All About Birds", my primary go-to site for bird ID, non-breeding males are white below, with rusty patches on the head, "ear", and shoulders. Its back is dark and streaky. Non-breeding females are white below, with rusty patches on the head, "ear", and chest. The back is dark with rusty streaks. When the flock takes off together, it's easy to tell them apart. On the ground however, I'm having a tough time differentiating them. It's unlikely that every one I photographed are all males or all females. Are there other features I'm missing, or am I looking too hard. Calling them all non-breeding adults is no bueno.
  3. Been having a tough time getting decent eagle pics with these lousy clouds. So here's one from the archives from a nice sunny day.
  4. Captured this today under cloudy skies. Not in the same league as pictaker's Grey Ghost, but it's definitely one of my best shots of one.
  5. I can identify immature Northern Harriers when their breasts are buffy and devoid of any streaking. But on many occasions I've come across buffy breasted individuals who have moderate streaking, and sometimes even blotchy breasts. These "in between" birds I've been calling immature/adult female. Are you saying any amount of streaking makes it an adult female? And I rarely get images clear enough to positively identify eye color.
  6. This adult male Northern Cardinal was seen in NW Missouri a few days ago. I noticed while editing photos today that he had a greyish back. Is he molting? Or is this something else? I know it's not light refracting off his feathers since it was overcast. I don't recall noticing this on other Cardinals I've photographed over the years.
  7. If I come upon a bird and I'm already close, I grab the camera first. But if it's far away, I grab the binoculars first. Although my camera has much better reach, the binoculars have a wider field of view, making it easier to find the bird. With the camera, sometimes it's like finding something by looking through a straw. The binoculars also have a brighter view in lower light conditions. The camera requires settings changes to make the view bright enough under those conditions. The binoculars also allow one handed use. I can never do that with my camera.
  8. It's upside down on the opposite side. Why is it that way? Dunno. Maybe for situations such as this?
  9. I've already stated I'm a photographer first. But I have to admit, through that hobby, I'm becoming a birder. When my backyard feeders no longer inspired me, I began to expand my search area, actively looking for something different besides "feeder birds" Once I photographed my first Bald Eagle, I was hooked. Now I actively seek out birds (particularly any raptor), and always try to get better photos of birds I've already photographed. Then I made a list... I think if you keep a bird list, you're automatically a birder.
  10. Photographer first. Here's a different kind of bird. Apologies if this isn't allowed.
  11. Remarkable photo. Not just because of the sharpness and detail. But because I rarely encounter Grey Ghosts, and when I do, they're never close enough to even think of getting a shot like this. I'm super envious.
  12. Too late to edit my typo. "...showed it sinking..."
  13. I understand adult female Northern Harriers have darker and more heavily streaked undersides, while immature NOHAs have buffy underside with little to no streaking. In the photo taken yesterday in NW Missouri, would this be one of those cases where it'd be categorized as an immature/adult female NOHA?
  14. Perhaps this is an over-simplification, but I think the distinction here is that I'm a photographer who likes birds. My main goal is to photograph birds, then identify them later. In doing so, I'm learning what the birds are, and maybe turning into a quasi-birder? I mean, I've started a list, so... As opposed to a birder who takes photos. They're main goal (correct me if I'm wrong) is to find birds and identify them, perhaps taking photos along the way. If I unintentionally insulted any birders out there, I apologize.
  15. Shot yesterday in bad light and too far away. But I love this pose. The eagle just landed on the levee. There were 2 more photos after this that shoed it sinking even deeper into the soft grass. But I liked the "sitting down on it's tail" vibe.
  16. Wait...there's a Lesser Snow Goose? Dammit. Plus you made me look up what alula feathers are. Thank you very much for the info. I cut and pasted it into a document so I can forget about it later. I think without pictures with circles and arrows, I'm just gonna stick with the basic 3 morphs. But seriously, you went all out and it's very much appreciated.
  17. As a side note, if I don't capture a photo of it, it doesn't get added to my "life list". Kind of like the fish that got away story.
  18. When I post photos of birds to my website, their photo captions always includes a description of the subject. I try to classify the species, sub-species (if any), scientific name, 4 letter alpha code, color morph (if any), sex (if it can be determined visually), age, etc. I also do this, but to a lesser extent, when I post bird photos to social media. That being said, how would you classify this bird? Immature (molting)? First winter? I know this applies to some birds (like some gulls) but not to others. I also presume you couldn't determine it's color morph this early. Also, I'm much to cheap to subscribe to Birds of the World, so if anyone posted the 7 Snow Goose color morphs (if that's allowed here), I (and probably others as well?) would appreciate it.
  19. I'll photograph any Red-tailed Hawk that will allow it. So I've got lots of fodder to supply here. If it helps other folks, that's great. For me, most of it is way over my head. I'll keep posting them up and let the experts haggle over them.
  20. Thanks. These are new for me. As I said, these unusual January temps are throwing everything out of whack, including bird migrations. I even saw an American Robin today!
  21. Seven color morphs?! Seriously? Grabs the aspirin...
  22. Seen this afternoon in NW Missouri. Blue-morph and intermediate-morph Snow Geese leading. What is trailing? I presume it's a Snow Goose. But what's with those markings?
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