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smittyone@cox.net

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Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. This quartet of Trumpeter Swans were seen last week in NW Missouri.  Are all 4 of them cygnets?  I know adult Trumpeter Swans are not always pure white.  Their feathers can be stained depending on their food source.  But that staining is generally limited to their head and neck.  The flight feathers on at least 3 of these birds are darker, leading me to believe at least 3 of them are immature birds.  Follow-up question--are young swans called cygnets all the way up until they're adults, or only until they grow flight feathers? 

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  2. 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.  

    • Like 3
  3. 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.   

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    • Like 4
  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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  6. 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.

    • Like 4
  7. 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.  

    • Like 3
  8. 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?

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    • Like 1
  9. 3 minutes ago, Birds are cool said:

    That's some discipline! My life list would be about 200 if I did that!

    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.  

    • Like 7
  10. 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.

       

    • Like 1
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