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Everything posted by GracesWarbler

  1. I went birding on Sunday, and I finally got a good luck at a little yellow bird I've seen glimpses of before. Apparently it was a Common Yellowthroat. I think yellow birds are my favorite, so this was a joy to see. Still, the name was a bit of a surprise: if it's so common, why have I so rarely seen them? Does anyone here have a favorite bird color?
  2. Sure, I'd love to hear some recommendations. I live up in Flagstaff, and the only places I've gone in the Gilbert/Phoenix area are the Riparian Preserve, the Desert Botanical Gardens, and one of the Phoenix city parks.
  3. I'm making a bird calendar for friends and family, so I want to get IDs right. Below is a photo I took in Gilbert, AZ (next to Phoenix), in September. A flock of these birds were swooping around together near the water. The area has some ponds and some trees (it's the Riparian Preserve at Water Ranch, if you know the area). These are Least Sandpipers, right? Or something else? Is the leg color the best way to distinguish Least Sandpipers from others? Also, I want to make sure I'm correctly IDing the Cormorants below. Are these both Neotropic Cormorants, right, due to the feathers in front of the eye? Does the white line on the second one signify that it's an adult, and the first one is a juvenile? Both were taken in Gilbert, AZ. The first photo was taken in March and the second one was taken in September.
  4. I really like the composition on this one. Great shot! Growing up on the East Coast, I was used to seeing Blue Jays. Out here in the west, we get Steller's Jays, which have a rad crest. I sat at a table for a good 20 minutes or so before this one finally showed up. I think it wanted food from me, but I didn't have any. Just look at that crest!
  5. Hmm, what is the general practice around here for sharing birding spots? I'm sure that you're a responsible birder, but I also don't want to stress the birds by bringing too much attention to them. Opinions?
  6. I saw some Rosy-faced Lovebirds for the first time this weekend! They're native to Africa and were brought to the U.S. as pets, but now several thousand live and breed in the wild in Phoenix. Apparently, the population has been growing for the past 25 years, and Phoenix is one of the only places in the U.S. where wild populations live. So despite the >100 degree temperatures, I got to see these goofy parrots hanging out in a palm tree, flying around, and squeaking loudly.
  7. I took a trip to a riparian preserve near Phoenix last weekend, and saw a Great Egret for the first time! However, I noticed something in its tail, which hung down into the water as it walked around to hunt. See the second photo, below. At first I thought it was long tail feathers, but I don't see any feathers like this when I look at other Great Egret photos online, so now I'm wondering if it was a reed or something. Do Great Egrets stick things into their tails? Is this normal, or unusual? Any insight would be appreciated! Bonus picture: while I watched, the egret walked over to the shore and snatched a dragonfly off a reed:
  8. Cool shot, and great lighting! It looks like it's wearing a long coat. I went somewhere new for birding last weekend: a riparian preserve near Phoenix. Lots of birds, rabbits, and turtles, and lots of people too! Northern Shovelers. A coot. A Snowy Egret, hunting. A catch! I can't quite tell what it got. Can anyone identify it? Some sort of fish?
  9. We got a record one-day snowfall where I live yesterday (nearly three feet!). That morning, I spotted a house finch on the balcony, chirping. Hopefully those feathers keep it warm.
  10. Spots vs. stripes! Neat. Here's are some Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Male: Female:
  11. Hoot hoot! Today I saw a Great Horned Owl! (Perhaps for the first time.) This was at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.
  12. Wonderful examples so far. I like how the male Rose-winged Parakeet looks like it has a a goatee. Here's a female and male Gambel's Quail:
  13. There is a fantastical variety of birds, and some species have notable differences between the males and females. Post your best photos showing these differences. Having both birds in the same photo is great, but not required. I'll start. Here's a male and a female Red-winged Blackbird:
  14. It amazes me how birds can manage to eat such large fish! Here's another one from the Phoenix Botanical Gardens. It's a Cactus Wren!
  15. How did this story end? I went down to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix yesterday. Good birds there, and some let you get a little closer than normal, probably because they like the plants so much. Here's a lifer for me: a Verdin.
  16. From a couple weeks ago: Mountain Chickadee Lesser Goldfinch fledgling Western Bluebird
  17. Yeah, I was curious/worried about it, so I took a close look, but after a minute or so I left and gave it space. I figured it would be best not to crowd it. Hopefully it's growing up alright!
  18. I was birding a couple days ago (October 6) in Flagstaff, AZ, and I saw a tiny fledgling bird on the ground (first two photos). I saw a Lesser Goldfinch nearby (third photo), which I thought might be a parent. Two questions: 1) Is the little bird a Lesser Goldfinch? 2) Is it normal for a bird this young to be on the ground? It could flutter a little, but only fly a foot or so in the air. It hopped around a little, seemed unsure of what to do (but didn't seem too afraid of me), and chirped loudly. Do the parents come and feed birds in this situation? It was such a tiny little bird, so I was a little concerned for it.
  19. Went out to my favorite birding spot last weekend. Here's a hummingbird. Is it a Broad-tailed (this is in Flagstaff, Arizona)? Here's a female Yellow-headed Blackbird. I've seen a bunch of males (to be fair, they are quite distinctive), but this is my first time noticing one of the females. I'd never seen one of these before. It's a Sora, and it ran off into the reeds practically as soon as I took this picture.
  20. A Yellow-headed Blackbird! Just when I feel like I'm getting a hang on identifying some common birds, the lady-birds throw me off. Thanks. Actually, I'd never heard of a Sora before, before I went looking through the bird book for this one.
  21. Hi all. I went out to a pond near Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday morning. The sunflowers were blooming and I saw a lot of birds. 1) This one was clinging to some of the sunflowers. A Brewer's Sparrow? 2) This one was hanging out in the cat-tails near the water. 3) I spotted this one running through the reeds. I only got a quick look at it, and it ran off. Is it a Sora? 4) There were a few of these hanging out in the sunflowers. Is it a lesser goldfinch? 5) This one was also in the sunflowers, but I saw it earlier than the one above. It looks like the same species as 4, but 4 looks yellowish while I don't see as much yellow here, but maybe that's just me. Is it also a Lesser Goldfinch? Thanks!
  22. Thanks! I'll definitely keep working on it. For now, how about some yellow! (Yellow is one of my favorite colors, so I'm glad some of the birds decided to hang out near the flowers.) More yellow, for good measure:
  23. P. S. In regard to the Osprey photos above, does anyone have tips for keeping flying birds in focus? I really wish I hadn't missed the focus on the bird above, but I took about ten photos of it and none of them are completely sharp. I'm using Nikon's auto servo autofocus, which is supposed to switch between single-servo and continuous-servo as appropriate. I've also been using a single autofocus point and trying to keep it centered on the bird. My aperture is wide open, which I guess isn't helping either. Should I be trying a different focusing technique (e.g. continuous-servo, dynamic-area instead of single-point, and/or smaller aperture)? I've seen some fantastically sharp flying birds in this thread!
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