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Richard Larsen

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Posts posted by Richard Larsen

  1.   The attached photos are of grebes from a recent trip to southern California.  All were taken in the second half of November 2023, either on the coast at Bolsa Chica Wildlife area, or at the Salton Sea.  I think I have figured out Western Grebes vs Clark's Grebes, but want to verify.  Horned Grebes vs Eared Grebe non-breeding / immature have me more uncertain.

      I think the first photo is a Western Grebe, and the second a Clark's Grebe.  I called the third a Horned Grebe, mainly because of the whitish tip of bill.  I called the last one an Eared Grebe, but could go either way.

      Any help appreciated.




    DSCN7173 - Clark's Grebe.JPG

    DSCN7748 - Horned Grebe.JPG

    DSCN7476 - Eared Grebe.JPG

  2.   I was in SE Arizona in the early days of April this year and ran across these hummingbirds at Canoa Ranch (near Green Valley - the 'female Costa's) and in Patagonia at either Patons or a private residence outside of town.  The 'female Costa's' is called such because someone at Canoa said such, and it did look like a good ID when I researched it later.  Of the Patagonia birds (2-6), I called them either Costa's or Anna's depending on whether the gorget appeared to be red or purple.  I wonder whether others agree with my calls.

      I am also curious as to whether the darker color on numbers 2 and 6 might just be lighting, maybe the color is just red fading to black (and looking purple) because those birds are not as obviously illuminated as numbers 3 thru 5.

      Any comments welcome.

      Thanks.  Rich


    DSCN4862 - Costa's Hunningbird female.JPG

    DSCN4903 - Costa's Hummingbird.JPG

    DSCN4908 - Anna's Hummingbird.JPG

    DSCN4917 - Anna's Hummingbird.JPG

    DSCN4919 - Anna's Hummingbird.JPG

    DSCN5029 - Costa's Hummingbird.JPG

  3.   Still trying to sort warblers, perhaps females, from Parker River NWR in Mass from late May.  Trees were full of warblers, and I was jumping from one to another with camera, but I think the first three are the same species - some might be the same birds.  Same for the last two - I am guessing female Blackpoll Warbler for them, but certainly not sure.  Maybe the first three are Yellow Warblers, but to me does not seem quite right for such a call.  Any help appreciated.  

    DSCN2915 - perhaps female blackpoll.JPG

    DSCN2926 - perhaps female blackpoll.JPG

    DSCN2949 - bird.JPG

    DSCN2951 - bird.JPG

    DSCN2954 - bird.JPG

    • Like 1
  4.   My wife and i were lucky enough to be at Plum Island this past weekend, with a large warbler migration ongoing, but I have not sorted my warblers yet.  I have attached 4 pics of 3 non-warbler birds seen, for which I am unable to provide an ID.

       The first is perhaps a female Orchid Oriole.

      The closest I can come on the second is Eastern Towhee but seems to have way too much red in the breast.

      The third and fourth pics were together on the rail of a fence - probably male and female - I think there is one pic of each.

      Any help would be appreciated.  I tried to match the pics to species others reported on ebird, but was not successful.  

    DSCN2833 - oriole.JPG

    DSCN2986 - ID.JPG

    DSCN2932 - fence.JPG

    DSCN2935 - fence.JPG

  5. From my trip to Florida a month ago.  A Great Blue Heron was poised to do some fishing.  An Anhinga either surfaced in the GBH's area or swam thru it.  Suddenly GBH dropped from above onto the Anhinga, with a squawk - for about three seconds there was chaos of wings and beaks as the birds battled - and then the GBH ran away across the swamp with the Anhinga in pursuit for a couple of seconds until he called off the chase.  Apparently, one does not mess with an Anhinga.

    DSCN0816 - Anhinga vs GBH.JPG

    • Like 10
    • Haha 2
  6. In Florida, in early February, I called pictures 1-4 'Dunlin', altho I still wonder if they could be Western Sandpipers.  The first three pics are the same bird, I think the bill too long to be Western, and maybe back too gray.  so, I went with Dunlin.  Number 4 is a different bird, again I called it Dunlin.

    Number 5 I went back and forth Willet vs Red Knot, settled on Red Knot, but for all I know could be something different.

    In a different location, an area called Bayley Tract on Sanibel Island, I found the bird shown in 6 and 7.  Long way away, pics may not be good enough.  I ended up thinking maybe it was an Eastern Phoebe but wondering if others have better ideas.  


    DSCN0375 - Dunlin.JPG

    DSCN0376 - Dunlin.JPG

    DSCN0379 - Dunlin.JPG

    DSCN0504 - Dunlin or western.JPG

    DSCN0608 - Red Knot.JPG

    DSCN9982 - Whatbird.JPG

    DSCN9983 - Whatbird.JPG

  7. A sparrow seen at Grissom Wetlands in Florida.  All are the same sparrow.  Pretty sure it is a Savannah Sparrow - trying to get my confidence up on bird IDs - and hoping I don't embarrass myself.  Thanks for any verification or correction.  First three pics.

    Then, 3 pics of a bird for which I don't have a guess, altho a little voice keeps telling me 'not another Palm Warbler'.

    DSCN1021 - Sparrow - probably Savannah.JPG

    DSCN1020 - Sparrow - probably Savannah.JPG

    DSCN1022 - Sparrow - probably Savannah.JPG

    DSCN0658 - Whatbird.JPG

    DSCN0659 - Whatbird.JPG

    DSCN0661 - Whatbird.JPG

    • Like 1
  8.   Sorting my Florida bird pictures - after scratching my head and considering options, I keep coming back to 'Palm Warblers' for all of these.  Nothing against Palm Warblers, was just hoping for more species.  Are these indeed all Palm Warblers?  All taken in first half of February this year.  Picture 1 from Honeymoon Island SP near Clearwater.  Pictures 2 and 3 from Grissom Wetlands near the east coast - they are the same bird.  Picture 4 from the Circle B Bar Preserve in Polk in Central Florida.

    DSCN06 - perhaps another Palm Warbler.JPG

    DSCN1027 - Warbler - probably Palm.JPG

    DSCN1026 - Warbler - probably Palm.JPG

    DSCN0791 - Another Palm Warbler perhaps.JPG

    • Like 1
  9.   While on the west coast of Florida a few weeks back, there were a lot of winter-plumage shorebirds that drove me crazy, including some large groups of 'resting' birds in multiple places.  I have 'concluded' that they must be Willets, based on the fact that I can't fit them to be anything else.  Hoping for confirmation or correction.

      Also, I observed one plover that seems to be a Wilson's Plover - I think it is correct - but they are new-to-me, so again hoping for confirmation.

      Thanks.  Rich


    DSCN0420 - Probably Willets.JPG

    DSCN9829 - Willets.JPG

    DSCN0620 - Wilson's Plover.JPG

  10. Thanks, Avery.  My 'Western' vs 'Semipalmated' was based strictly frequency, not any features of the birds.  Ebird shows many dozens of Westerns on this beach every day, and the last Semipalmated was shown back in late October.  And, the Cornell range maps show semipalmated in the US only for nesting and migration - all winter populations appear to be south of the US mainland.

    So, my designation is based on probability, not on any wisdom I have in identifying them.  I'm not good enough to make an independent assessment.



    • Like 2
  11.   Trying to sort out non-breeding plumage in small sandpipers.  I can't say that I have any experience doing this, so I may have embarrassed myself - they might not even be sandpipers.  These all come from tidal mudflats at Bunche Beach / San Carlos Bay near Sanibel Island, FL, on Feb 6, 2022.  Attached are three photos I am calling Western Sandpipers, and three that I call Least Sandpiper (these three are views of same bird).  Confirmation or correction would be appreciated.  Thanks.  Rich

    DSCN0100 - Western Sandpiper.JPG

    DSCN0108 - Western Sandpiper.JPG

    DSCN0120 - Western Sandpiper.JPG

    DSCN0127 - Least Sandpiper.JPG

    DSCN0128 - Least Sandpiper.JPG

    DSCN0129 - Least Sandpiper.JPG

  12. Sorry, the system posted before I was ready.  There was missing text, and I think I already posted one of the hummers.

    The first and 4th pictures are obviously hummers, I think the first is Anna's, and the 4th Rivoli's - but hoping for confirmation or correction.  The second and third I think are both Least Sandpipers, again hoping for comment.  I think the 5th is a Western Sandpiper, but might be another least - or maybe something else.

    Please ignore number 6 for now.

    Thanks.  Rich 


  13. Thanks to all.  I gave bad information on number 5.  I reviewed the date / time stamp again, and realized it came from Patagonia, AZ, at the Paton Reserve - not Gilbert - and I saw it shortly after others had been seeing Lazuli Buntings in a couple of trees nearby.  They said 'the buntings had left, but they will come back later'.  I thought I had missed them all.  I think this was a female that had not gone very far - or maybe was just the first one to return.    

    I think 'Brown headed Cowbird' female is the right call on number 6.  The sun was very low, giving everything a reddish hue, thus the coloration.  I did not know where to start on this one, but once pointed in that direction I can see what looks to be the right markings.



  14.   First, thanks to all whom have helped me with my previous postings. 

    For the first picture, from Gilbert Water Ranch, I feel I should know this guy, but have drawn a blank.

    Number 2 I believe is a Lincoln Sparrow.

    Number 3 I believe is a greater (or lesser) yellowlegs  

    Number 4 does not have lighting to illuminate the gorget, so not sure if it is enough to ID which hummer this is. 

    Number 5 is from Gilbert Water Ranch, as are number 1-4

    Number 6 is from Lake Cochise in Willcox

    Number 7 I believe is a Harris' Hawk, seen at Sweetwater in Tucson


    Hopefully I won't embarrass myself with any of them.  Thanks.  Rich


    DSCN9292 (2).JPG

    DSCN9364 (2).JPG

    DSCN9394 (2).JPG





  15. Still sorting pictures from Arizona at the end of November / early December.  I think the first one is a female Lawrence Goldfinch.  I saw a lot of Lesser Goldfinches, but the yellow in the wings here is very different.  Pretty sure about this one.  The second is in the shadows, but I think it is a Clay-colored Sparrow.  Not so sure on this one.  These were both taken near Green Valley, at Canoa Preserve.  The 3rd one is quite fuzzy - sorry - from Gilbert Water Park.  I went thru the ebird hotspot sightings, and the answers I come up with are maybe Sage Thrasher or Swainsons Thrush, but I sure don't know.  The last one is also from Gilbert, and I think it is a Lincoln Sparrow - but hoping to get wiser opinions.  Thanks for any help.  Rich 


    DSCN8537 (2).JPG

    DSCN8153 (4).JPG

    DSCN9364 (2).JPG

  16. My wife and I came across 4-6 of these birds flitting thru the scrub trees near the top of Coronado Peak, in Coronado National Monument, AZ = almost in Mexico.  They would not sit still or come out in the open, so pictures are not great.  I can't make it match one of the bluebird species, but maybe it is.  Seems to have blue on the wing, and in the center of the back.  The pictures my well not be the same bird, but from same group - should be the same species.  Any help appreciated.

    Wife votes - 'either Western or Eastern Bluebird'.

      Thanks.  Rich



  17. My wife and I were in SE Arizona for a mix of hiking, birding, and getting away from the November cold and clouds in Vermont.  We did the same last year, same time.  We are not expert birders, and not locals, and only there in November, so we can't give the best advice.  eBird Hotspots show two San Pedro areas, and the Sierra Vista EOP as 250+ species areas, and a bunch of 200+ species areas.  Seems you need some sort of authorization to get into the EOP.  We liked Ash Canyon Bird Sanctuary as well - many active feeders there when we went.  We just go to the eBird Hotspots.

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    • Thanks 1
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