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Dan P

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  1. These are a couple old photos that I'm trying to identify.  They were taken at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve in Van Nuys, CA in 2013 and 2015.

    Photos 1 & 2 are the same individual and were taken 1 Mar 2013.  I have no idea what this is.

    Photos 3 & 4 are the same individual and were taken 25 May 2015.  I think this is a female Great-tailed Grackle.

    All help is appreciated.






  2. Thank you all for your comments.  I have a hard time with the Kingbirds.

    Bird 1 does not appear to have any white edges on the outer tail feathers (although they may be tucked under), and there does appear to be white tips on the ends of the tail feathers (could be reflection or other effect of the lighting).  The poor exposure and the angle of the light causes the colors to be hard to discern, but I don't really see what would make this a Western.

    And Bird 3 does have white edges on at least two of the tail feathers, but from pictures of Cassin's on both WhatBird and eBird, it appears that Cassin's can also have some white on the edges of tail feathers.  In fact, all of the diagnostic features of both Western and Cassin's seem to cross over when you look at the pictures of exemplars on WhatBird and eBird.


  3. I was looking through some old photos over the past several years and I think I have found some photos of Kingbirds taken in northern Los Angeles County in the Antelope Valley and near Gorman.

    I'm thinking that Birds 1 through 3 are Cassin's Kingbirds based on the gray breast and white or yellowish throat.

    Bird 1) 2020-04-22 Antelope Valley 8276 (perched)

    Bird 2) 2018-04-21 Gorman Post Road (Pond) 2278 (in-flight) -- this site is a hotspot on eBird

    Bird 3) 2013-04-12 Gorman Ravine 497 (on wire)


    The other 3 were taken on the same date in 2013 at a site I call Gorman Ravine, about 1/2 mile southeast of Gorman on the northeast side of Gorman Post Road.  Photos 4a and 4b are the same bird.  Bird 5 (taken about 70 minutes after Bird 4a/b) may be the same bird or a different bird (and possibly a different species).

    Bird 4a) 2013-03-25 Gorman Ravine 278 (on tree limb)

    Bird 4b) 2013-03-25 Gorman Ravine 281 (taking off 3:29 pm)

    Bird 5) 2013-03-25 Gorman Ravine 446 (in-flight 4:39 pm)

    I'm thinking Bird 4a/b could be a Western Kingbird, and Bird 5 could be a Cassin's Kingbird (if they are not all 3 the same bird).


    Let me know your thoughts.  Thanks.







  4. Thanks Aidan and Tony.  I thought Crow because I couldn't really see a definite wedge shape, even in most of the other photos I have.  I have a hard time with it if the tail is not fully fanned out in plan view.  It was a solo bird aggravating the hawk, so maybe that is a hint.

    And I finally ID'd a WEBL.  My trick is...if I only have a shot from the front and it looks mostly red, think bluebird.

  5. Taken 11-29-2020 in the afternoon at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area, Agua Dulce, CA.

    1) Western Bluebird?

    2) Adult and immature White-crowned Sparrows?

    3 & 4) Not sure, but possibly a California Towhee?  I saw one a little earlier.

    5) Crow? saying hello to a Red-tailed.

    Other's photographed same place were Bewick's Wren, Bushtit, California Towhee and Common Raven.







  6. Yes, it's not easy.  A couple things that might help -- depending on how much time you have before the bird is gone.  Try keeping both eyes open and follow the bird with your non-camera eye while you zero-in on the bird through the viewfinder.  Also, if you are using a zoom lens, start with it zoomed out to get the bird in the frame, then zoom in once you've focused on the bird.  And try to keep your camera, arms and shoulders fixed while following the bird, rotating your torso at the waist.  Good luck.

    • Thanks 1
  7. Thanks Guys.

    Charlie, for birds in flight your camera, lens and card can make a difference, but if you are shooting in full auto you are probably not going to have good results.  I usually set the aperture and shutter speed manually to something reasonable for the conditions and bird's quickness in maneuvering and wingbeats.  And put the ISO in auto (with max ISO preferably 6400 or more).  Autofocus should be either center-weighted or spot.  Then its up to how steady you can be and how good you are at acquiring the focus before shooting.  I'm sure there are plenty of different methods, but I get more good shots doing that.

    The Cooper's Hawk caught me by surprise and I just started shooting.  I was taking photos of a yellow-rumped warbler sitting in a tree and the settings were f11 and 1/200, so the COHA photos didn't turn out so good.


    • Like 1
  8. Taken 11-15-2020 in late afternoon at Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve in Van Nuys, CA.

    Are these photos all of Red-Winged Blackbirds?  The second photo is a zoom-in of the bird in the first photo.  

    They flew up out of some reeds and then I came upon what I think was the same group of birds about 10 minutes later in some reeds (last two photos).








  9. Taken 11-18-2020 in Glendale, CA (backyard).

    For the past month or more I've had a lot of Lesser Goldfinches at my feeders.  But one day last week I think I photographed an American Goldfinch -- maybe two.

    The 1st photo is of the bird that I think is an American Goldfinch -- first time I've seen one.  I'd like confirmation please.

    The 2nd and 3rd photos are of a pale colored bird that was seen at the same time, and I think these 2 photos are of as single bird.  I'm not really sure what this bird is, but wondering if it is also an American Goldfinch.

    The 4th photo is the 1st bird next to what I believe is the bird from the 2nd and 3rd photos.

    The 5th photo is a Lesser Goldfinch that was taken about the same time and place -- for comparison.

    And the 6th photo, at the feeder, has a pale bird that I think is similar to the one in photos 2 and 3.

    All these photos were taken within 10 minutes of each other.








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