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Posts posted by smittyone@cox.net

  1. I should've included this "eye wide open" shot for comparison.  Comparing this one to the first shot I originally posted, there's clearly a noticeable difference.  In the first two pics, the eye is definitely obscured by something.  What confuses me is the big difference between those two.  The first is semi-transparent, while the second one is definitely not. 


  2. I (think I) know what a nictitating membrane in birds is, and what it's for.  In raptors, as far as I know, it's practical purpose is to protect the eye, but it also helps maintain (some) vision when searching for and/or actively attacking its prey, but the bird still needs to blink.  My question here is related to both pics posted below.  They're both of the same immature Eastern Red-tailed Hawk taken in two consecutive frames.  In the first photo the membrane is translucent.  But in the second photo, it appears opaque.  Are there two layers to this membrane?  Are there two separate membranes, specifically in predatory birds?  There is no ID required here.  I just need to satisfy my curiosity.



  3. Smitty's bored, so he's taking you down a rabbit hole with him.  I get two subspecies of White-crowned Sparrows in my area--Gambel's and Dark-lored.  I can pretty easily ID them both when they're adults.  But here's where it gets sticky.  I also get first winter ones here as well.  Are there other features, besides with or without dark lores, I can use (on first winter birds) to distinguish between Gambel's and Dark-lored?  I don't know if the stripe between the eye and bill is faint on a first winter bird, or non-existent for both subspecies, or what.  If it's not possible to tell them apart when they're young, then I'm OK with just calling them first winter WCSP.  But if there are other features I should be looking for, well...

    All of the pics below were taken in western Iowa in January.  The first 3 pics were taken in one location (they all could be the same bird, I don't remember).  The remaining pics were all taken at a second western Iowa location on a different day.  I also don't remember if they were all the same bird or not.

    If I were to guess, I'd say the first 3 were Gambel's and the rest are Dark-lored.







  4. aveschapinas, not sure what you mean by my profile page, but after signing in, I select activity, then my activity streams, then content I started.  It only goes back as far as 1 Jan 2023, regardless of the date range I select.

    If I actually try the search function and search by author and put in my name, it only goes back to March 2020 with only 20 entries.  I know I joined way before then, and I know I've started more than 20 topics.

  5. Photographed yesterday.  I was watching this immature Eastern Red-tailed Hawk sitting on a utility pole.  It dove/glided down from the pole to the roadside ditch directly next to my car, perhaps 30 feet away!  Although I anticipated this, way too many of my shots cut off wingtips, tail, half the bird... some frames didn't even have a bird in them at all.  I even remembered to zoom all the way out from 600 down to 200mm--I usually forget to do this.  Photographing birds in flight while seated in a car is tougher than you might think. Many of the pics I managed to keep in frame were not tack sharp.  Seems my Sony a9 struggles with fast moving subjects coming towards the photographer.


    • Like 9
  6. Quote

    I'm not aware that the old entries are archived or deleted. Can you give an example? And how far is "too far"? There was a major crash in early 2018, I believe, but the site came back online in mid-2018 and all content from before that was gone. It may show up in Wayback machine searches and such but it's no longer on the site.

    As I write this something occurred to me. Hold on, I'll be back.

    Back! OK; I looked through some of the forums and posts from as far back as June, 2018 are definitely showing normally. Is it possible you're looking for posts that are older than that? If so, as I said, they are no longer on the site here, but I know people have found them on Internet searches.

    I used to be able to review content I started from a couple of years ago, but now, I can only go back to 1 Jan 2023, even though I select a date range much farther back than that.

  7. Saw this guy this morning near Council Bluffs, Iowa.  Is this adult Red-tailed Hawk a Northern or a Western variant?  I know you guys love to ID these as much as I love submitting them.  As long as it helps others out, I don't mind being too lazy to ID them myself (except the easy ones).  I didn't capture any frontal views, so the side view with tail raised will have to do.  But I did get the all important upper tail shot.

    I've got another waiting in the wings after this one gets ID'd.





    • Like 1
  8. Thanks so much everyone.  Jerry, I cut/pasted your ID info into word, then saved it in my bookmarks.  Maybe I won't have to ask you guys questions you've already answered (again).

    Off topic (sort of).  Does anyone know for how long this website archives entries?  I regularly go back and re-read bird ID requests I've made here, to compare similar birds.  Sometimes that helps me not have to post ID questions.  But when I go back too far in the archives, the original posts are missing.  Maybe I can save answers to questions I've posted somehow?  Suggestions?  

  9. I'm glad you guys enjoyed this one.  Especially the FB folks.  So if I understand correctly, it's a light morph Harlan's?  Not intergraded with any other RTHA?

    Because my stubbornness only recognizes a Harlan's when it's a dark morph, and sometimes an intermediate morph.  I guess the reason I can't wrap my brain around a light-morph Harlan's is because I'm stuck on the wrong features that make it a Harlan's.  

    Someone on here, not too long ago, pointed out which features should actually be looking for a Harlan's ID, but I've forgotten and worse, lost that thread.

    Also, I could start a new thread with the bird below, but because it shares many of the characteristics of the bird we've been discussing, I didn't want to lose any of the comments.  This one was seen late yesterday afternoon in western Iowa, about 25 miles north of Tuesday's bird.







  10. I can't post the link, but I CAN copy parts of the article.

    Cackling Goose aka Lesser or Small Canada or Canadian Goose

    SEPTEMBER 16, 2021

    The Cackling Goose (Branta hutchinsii) occurs in North America, where it is regionally common.

    This species has adapted well to living in urban and suburban areas and are commonly found on lakes, ponds and rivers.

    In the past, the Cackling Goose was considered to be a smaller subspecies of the Canada Goose.

    However, in July 2004, the American Ornithologists’ Union’s Committee split them up into two separate species based on genetic studies and differences in:

    • voice
    • size (most races of Cackling Goose being smaller than the Canada Goose)
    • breeding habitat (Cackling Goose breeds farther northward and westward than the Canada Goose)

    There are 5 subspecies of Cackling Goose, of varying sizes and plumage details.

    The smallest form of the Cackling Goose – the Lesser Canada Goose or Small Cackling Goose – is only about a quarter the size of the “Giant Canada Goose.”

    This goose is easily recognized by its black head and neck, distinctive white patches on the face, light tan to cream chest and its otherwise brownish-grey plumage.


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