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Aaron

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Everything posted by Aaron

  1. Peanut! Sad that I didn't get to see more of her. Last saw her in March or April I think. I wonder if the dilution reduced her fitness somehow.
  2. In my zoology course we learned quite a bit about birds and how they work. The two most interesting to me (and what I can remember right now) was that 1. In birds it takes two breathes to get the bolus of air through their lungs and out, instead of one like us and they don’t have any mixing of air within the lungs. This allows them to always have fresh air moving across the lungs at all times, which makes them more efficient at extracting oxygen from the air which is why they can have elevated body temperatures (40 degrees +). As high body temperatures need a high metabolic rate, which requires more oxygen. Which is also why they can’t be ovoviviparous as the eggs would not develop properly if retained within the mother as the temperature would be too high. 2. The Turaco (Guinea turaco) is the only true green pigmented bird. All other green birds have blue structural colour overlayed with yellow pigment so they appear green.
  3. I’ve continued to stick with just editing them using my iPhone. Though, I am going to try some other program soon to edit all my photos from Costa Rica. It’s still crazy to me how you can just delete wires and branches!
  4. I only ever found the one and it was heard only. I never was able to find one on the ground during the day or flush one up, but this one area I just know they were there somewhere, but too camouflaged for me! I definitely spent equal time looking on the ground as well as looking up for other birds. The house I stayed at was more in town, so not the best area for them. We only had a golf cart for one night and that’s when I was able to hear the one up a quite road in the jungle. Didn’t notice any flushing up off the ground, but I was stuck at the back facing backwards 🤷🏻‍♂️. If we would have had the golf cart for a bit longer I probably would of done a night ride along the jungly part of town to listen for owls and things or gotten to the hiking trails/quieter roads earlier in the day. Took almost 40 minutes to walk over there from where we were, and my entourage wasn’t too inclined to wake up earlier. I’d wake up at 5, but we actually wouldn’t leave until around 6:20am. So by the time we got to the good area, it’s likely that a car or someone else had already flushed them. (At least that’s what I tell myself 😂). I did see many lesser nighthawks however which I guess made up for it, but those were seen flying in mass at dusk. Next time!
  5. I bought my 7d Mii second hand of of Kijiji. It’s rated for 100,000 photos and the one I got had about 30,000 taken on it. It was my first move from a point and shoot (Nikon P600, like the P1000 but less zoom) to a DSLR and I’ve been happy with it so far. When I was researching it, there were many many reviews that it was one of the best for bird photography, specifically for in flight photography due to its high frame rate (which I’ve barely taken advantage of). There’s also lots of videos and tutorials on the best settings to use specifically for photographing birds. I use the 100-400 Mii lens with it and all though the zoom is almost never enough, you can crop the photo further in and retain more detail than you ever could with a point and shoot. Though, really when it comes to DSLRs, the lenses are the real investment, not the camera.
  6. Got back today at 3am after an extra night due to our flight being cancelled as a window got cracked on the plane. As it goes for now I got to 118 species with 35 of those being lifers! I have many recordings to go through, so hopefully I can add a few more species but I don’t know when I’ll be able to go through those. It is weird that there is no option for passerine sp., bird.sp, etc down there without being flagged rare. So my checklists are gonna go through some major editing. I took over 1000 photos, but that doesn’t mean they were all good 😂. I’ll have to edit those as well. Planning on doing a free trial for photoshop or something and editing them all during that period. Super fun trip though! I am definitely tired after being up at 5 am for two weeks. I’ll do a short summary once I get through all my photos and recordings. Hopefully I can get through them soon!
  7. About halfway through the trip now and I think I’m at 91 species so far. It is interesting comparing it to the last time I was here as some things have definitely changed. Some everyday species I had last time I’ve yet to see or have barely seen. Green breasted mangos used to visit the yard daily, but now they’ve seemed to be replaced by Cinnamon and rufous-tailed hummingbirds. I’ve got loads of species high counts, and usually get flagged for having too many Baltimore orioles. It’s really neat as they all roost together in the trees around sunset, and then are often grouped together at sunrise too. Average is around 80 at night (highest I got to was 100) and 50 in the morning Today I had my best get checklist with 60 species, but it probably would have been much higher if I had better memorized the bird songs/calls down here! Sure is tough locating birds in giant trees and thick shady jungle. So far not too happy with my photography, as most birds seem to want to perch far away and the ones that are close and conspicuous I seem to be in the wrong setting or not getting the focus right. There was a large group of Wood storks a few feet away and reviewing the photos I’m kind of embarrassed of them! I hope to find them again so I can redeem myself. Yet, I guess things can change once the editing process begins. However, everyday I seem to be getting multiple lifers or seeing something I haven’t seen here before, so hopefully that continues! I think I will be able to get to over 100 this trip in the next few days *knock on wood*. Hiking in the morning along a dirt trail up in the forest, so hopefully I can add some more interesting species. Still lots to see!
  8. Oh yes, I was just talking about the photos that they actually display on the app. I do think Merlin uses some sort of filter as every now and the I get an email saying that ____ many of my photos/recordings have been used to ‘train Merlin’ so it’s definitely not utilizing everything.
  9. Thought I’d try doing a live trip report thing on ebird if anyones interested. Been here once before for 2019-2020 and had a real good time so hoping it’ll be just as good. I made an old trip report for last time here: https://ebird.org/tripreport/9310 Though it was my first year with ebird so there’s some malpractice and stuff I wish I did differently. This time I hope to get above 100 species. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot more knowledgeable so I should do much better. I’m not as prepared as I planned to be, as I wasn’t sure if I was actually going, so didn’t want to get too excited. It’s a birding trip for only me and no one else in my family, so not planning on travelling around and doing birding tours etc. Just lots of walking around the town. My main goal is to find a Common Pauraque resting on the ground! Anyways, here’s the link: https://ebird.org/tripreport/25668 First checklist should be up tomorrow sometime. Won’t be adding any photos until I get back, so it may look a little boring!
  10. I was under the impression that most duck species have maternal care only. I’ve never seen ducklings with both parents before.
  11. I do think that Merlin and the ebird species pages are looking for photos of the whole bird, as I’ve never not seen a picture of a whole bird on those. But, I do think that the various research papers that use/cite the Macaulay library and maybe(?) birds of the world utilizes headshots/non-full body photos to help identify or prove their hypothesis. I tried looking up research papers that use the Macaulay library to see if that was true, but kept running into paywalls. And then again, if they don’t want to use it they can just scroll by it and choose something else 🤷🏻‍♂️
  12. We’ve been under an extreme cold warning the last few days or so… It’s been below -20c for about 2 weeks now. Lots of snow everywhere. This morning it was -41c and it’s going to get to a balmy -28c later. Been hovering around the low -30s for about 4 days now and supposed to stay that way for a few more. Cars don’t start, and eyelids freeze shut… You can throw boiling water into the air and it will just turn into mist. Needless to say I’ve been doing lots of backyard birding.
  13. For headshots/not the whole bird photos, I think intent matters a bit on how to rate it. There’s a difference I think when you’re intending the photo to just be a head shot vs when you’re forced to. Like, photos that are obscured highly by branches/grass/etc should be rated lower. But that mockingbird was obviously intended to be a close up, and it’s clear so why should it be rated low if the intent was a head shot? As Manny said, there’s nothing in ebird saying to rate headshots/close ups lower. Plus, headshots I think are still helpful as they show details that would otherwise be missed/overshadowed in a photo that would show the whole bird….
  14. This is from 2011, but Yucatán Jays were pretty cool to see every morning when eating breakfast. Oldest photo I have on ebird.
  15. I’m at 198 and have been so since October, from BC and Alberta. I’ve only seen 6 species this month! Quite low compared to last year, but will likely add quite a few when I go to Costa Rica in a few days, but doubt I’ll pass 2020s total of 261. 2022 looks like it should be my biggest year if everything works out
  16. For my P600 I use an off brand charger and 3 off brand batteries for it and have been doing so since I got it in 2014. No issues whatsoever with them even now. I actually think the off brand batteries last longer than the 1 Nikon battery it came with it. I forget the brand but it was like ezo or something like that…. I somehow misplaced the bag full of all the batteries and the charger a few weeks ago or else I’d check.
  17. I once got a slurpee from 711 in the states and it was the weirdest thing ever. I don’t know what you guys are doing down there but those are NOT slurpees. Weird foamy texture…. I don’t eat at the 711s here either.. except for muffins I guess.
  18. What about red-crowned/red-throated ant-tanager?
  19. One of the theories in human evolution is that the shift to a more meat eating diet and the ability to cook/process that meat is what allowed for the expansion of the human brain in early hominids. As large growing brains require a substantial amount of nutrients which is lower/harder to access in plants due to their cell walls. And then of course with hunting and tracking prey, that requires far more cognitive ability than just eating a leaf. Yet, in a similar sense, eating fruit requires a high level of cognitive ability too, in order to see if it’s ripe enough etc. Which is why if you look at the brain of a howler monkey which is a folivore, it is a lot smaller and smoother than the brains of monekys that are primarily fruigivores/omnivores. Of course, none of that matters today because food can be cooked and protein can come from other sources/supplements and is readily available. That being said, I don’t really eat a lot of meat except for chicken. I eat a lot of chicken…. I’m the person who always orders chicken strips no matter the restaurant so I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have that as an option 😂
  20. Somehow the ranges of both screech owls end before they get anywhere close to where I am, but I guess I’m too far North.🤷🏻‍♂️ My first Saw-whet was also unexpected. First major snowstorm of the year but I decided to bird around outside anyways and found him in a little tree right next to the path. Another time I saw one I called it a “Saw-wheat owl” to a group of birders who asked if I saw anything interesting and they all laughed at me… I still haven’t recovered from that.
  21. I believe so. The only other owl that makes similar calls (at least to what I’m familiar with) would be Boreal, but I don’t think those make it to Michigan
  22. You’re right…. I should have started with a photo of a male and female killdeer to represent the gametes. 😔
  23. That nest was unfortunately flooded out… I often find them floating along the lake shore. In the 2nd to last you can still see some of the down on his tail. I guess I need to go get some better killdeer photos next year.
  24. I don’t like Quebec either… I’ll refrain from elaborating or else I’ll get in trouble 😬 But who am I to say, as I live in Alberta of all places 🙄
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