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Everything posted by millipede

  1. I almost replied sooner only to argue the mockingbird suggestion as I can't picture those feeding in a group of half a dozen. I bring that up now because I'm curious if the Whydah does. I don't know anything about them. I hope Beth comes back. Please get a photo if you can. Sometimes even a cell phone photo is good enough.
  2. I was scratching my head at that one... but I could see it being a grosbeak now that it's been suggested. angelhelp, welcome. I can't zoom in on the musical piece without it getting too blurry to see what it is and I am an extremely curious person so... 🙂 what's that music?
  3. I love stick birds... most of the time. Everything that makes it look like a bird here also, to me makes it not look like a bird. The details I see that look bird like, I can't see any bird looking like that. My vote is it's just part of the debris/branches. I've seen some nice ones that looked like alligators, bitterns, and more. Saw a long-tailed duck(where one was reported) that ended up being a buoy or something. And I've been taken in by an actual decoy or two.
  4. agreed. These should all be females. These days I can spot these and have no problem but earlier on in my birding, they sure threw me as I was so used to seeing a red-winged blackbird as, well as a red-winged blackbird. During migration, males and females often travel in separate flocks so it would be easy to see a BIG flock of red-winged males and just assume that they all looked like that. Anyway, I'm rambling. That's just to say that when you're learning to ID birds, that's an easy one to end up scratching your head on.
  5. without seeing more, or hearing, I often have trouble with tennessee warbler vs some of the vireos. I'm having a hard time judging the whole bird but, I'd lean towards this being a tennessee warbler. BUT, don't just try and confirm on your own, wait for other replies. Someone else will reply... 🙂
  6. I wish I could see more features on the first bird. What I can see has me thinking about sparrows fro some reason. The second one is indeed a flycatcher. I think Least flycatcher is a candidate but I'm not committing to that at this point. :) Hopefully someone else will offer some thoughts on both birds. If you have any other pictures of the first, I'd like to see them.
  7. Sorry, it's easy to forget that info when posting... very easy. This was just the other day, here in NW Arkansas. I don't think it looked right for a pine. And the behavior and habitat were wrong. It was low in the bushes and, I think we have two pine trees on our 5 acres. We had a pine warbler at our suet one winter a few years back but, haven't seen any since. I'm hoping at my pines(and a neighbor's) get bigger that might change some. We'll see.
  8. random side note... Sometimes I wonder if people wait for one of the more experienced to reply and then simply agree without knowing. hmm... sorry, my mind wonders... I can't say "it's a _______" but when I looked at this the other day, well that's why I didn't comment before... I just don't know. But I felt it was way too yellow for a summer tanager. All I'm going by is Sibley's(and my own personal observations of summer tanagers) but the amount of yellow(especially above and below the bill) seems totally wrong for summer. I can't say "hepatic" because I don't know but wanted to throw that out there as some thoughts 🙂
  9. I've seen them in all sorts of poses as they'll often look straight down to hunt for bugs. But I think I'll agree with bluebird. The shape of that belly and all, just can't be a kestrel... It's VERY difficult to judge such blurry shots so, bluebird is what I THINK but am open to us all being wrong. HA. Yeah, I hate windshield for bird viewing. If I can stop safely, I'll stick the camera out the window. There's been a few places where we drive while we bird and.... don't tell anyone... my daughter and I will sometimes sit in the window so my whole upper half is hanging out the side... while still driving. Don't do this at home(or anywhere) HA If I have a bad angle I'll open the window and make sure the display screen is on and just reach out and aim the best I can. Usually works better than a shot through the glass.
  10. Welcome. My daughter was in the room when I was looking, and that helped. I knew it wasn't a typical blackbird, or a cowbird. Looks like you might have a lark bunting there. cool bird. I've never seen one before. except in pictures.
  11. Forget Canada... I just did some searching on what that would entail. Seems it's easier to get into Canada but getting back to the US, even an hour later... ugh... The required papers I'd need would cost way too much for our family of 7. We're just too poor... 😞
  12. I'm not seeing the attachment. No. An iridescent blue to greenish color is typical of a tree swallow... and the underside is all white. How'd you see the picture Sean?
  13. House sparrows are mean things that take over the nests of other birds. They'll kick bluebirds out of their nest boxes. I've seen a family in a dinner plate sized nest before up in a tree... and I've seen them nesting in cliff swallow nests on the side of a bridge. I think the only time I've seen them with their own sort of nests is when they're in town finding crevices in old buildings to nest in.
  14. I can't 100% confirm as I'm not great with peeps, especially when not a lot of detail can bee seen. But that's what I'd lean towards and I can confirm it's not a pectoral. Pectorals are only 1.5 inches bigger than a semipalmated plover but would look significantly bigger than this bird does.
  15. Big travel project I'm TRYING to plan for late summer. One difficulty here is my eagerness to get where I'm going as quickly as I can. I hate stopping for breaks. BUT... I'm also thinking about filling in a little more of my eBird map, if only a little here and there. Been thinking that I can always eBird(make checklists) at gas stations and rest areas but, I'm also going to be studying hotspot maps for good locations that will be NEAR the highways I'll travel to really look for some good stuff on a couple breaks. My current plan is to eBird any time I stop BUT, to purposely stop every other state I go through on the way there, then the opposite states on the way back. So there's the travel eBirding I hope to do and then, planning for my visit up there. LOTS involved here. If people have suggestions for places I NEED to visit, please let me know. It will be late August, I believe, so I don't have to worry about stopping for warbler migration as far as I know. But any rarities that are common in locations close enough to my travel route, I NEED to go ahead and find those. 🙂 Will study hotspot maps and hope for suggestions before settling on a route. Options pretty much all include traveling 44 across MO and then 70 across Illinois, Indiana, and into Ohio. Then in Ohio the options are to head north all the way to 90 and take that across NY into MA, or head up to 80 and head across northern PA... or, 70 to 76 across lower PA. That route takes the longest and has some tolls for sure but has a really cool, long tunnel to go through. Tolls on 90 through NY and MA make it expensive, a bit... 80 is THE cheapest way to go. Google always suggests 90 these days because there's far less traffic going that way, it's a smoother ride and can get you there faster even though it's more miles. Here are some maps showing possible routes. Alternatively we could go further south and hit some more states I normally wouldn't see but that would add more and more time. If there are MUST see birds in another direction, I might have to consider other options. 🙂 THE DRIVE: 70 to 90: Fastest, smoothest ride, lots of tolls. (don't have EZPass so, MA will mail me a bill apparently.) 70 to 80: Shortest, fewest tolls. Sometimes(all the time) lots of construction. Higher altitudes for PA 70 to 76: Tolls, LONGER drive usually, fun tunnel to pass through. Do you need passports to go visit Canada for an hour? That sure would be fun to add to me eBird data, not to mention there might be some interesting birds up there. 🙂 ONCE THERE: Once we're there we'll need to make some plans as well. I have to study some bar charts and such and TRY to make a plan as to what I need to look for. There are a few warbler species I'd still love to get looks at. LOTS of ocean/shore birds I could use. We'll be in New England just under 2 weeks and, well it's not a birding trip, it's a family vacation where we're going to visit our family. So, I can't go nuts birding 😞 I think we'll likely visit Parker River NWR on Plum Island as we have in the past. It should offer a few good birds as well as offer some swimming/beach time for the kids that aren't so interested in that. That's tough to plan because I'm a bit of a helicopter parent and, it's difficult to go off birding all over and leaving some of the younger kids behind sometimes. I'll figure something out. I will have to watch the rare bird alerts and chase anything that comes up, of course. If that little egret is still up in Maine by mid/late August we'll go searching. We briefly searched another year, when it was still there, but missed it. I'm not sure how much birding I'll get to do. I NEED to make sure I hang out at my mom's neighbor's house some, as they have a pool... 🙂 One year we visited, we were over there almost every day. HA. Anyway, if anyone has suggestions for stop along the trip, or MUST SEE spots in New England, please let me know. I will also TRY to get a list of possible needs for that area, and focus on what's around in August and see what might be chase-able. It's kind of hard to plan these things sometimes, especially with a wife that doesn't like birding, and 5 kids. But I think we can work something out that everyone will enjoy.
  16. yeah, that's definitely the domestic in it. It's probably graylag or something but I'm not an expert on genetics. (There are some people out there that could be pretty specific here) Something like a graylag goose would account for the almost textured look of the neck and the leg color, and I think that would also have helped the body color stay fairly Canada like as they're a bit similar in that department. You'll find more and more people have dumped pet ducks and geese at local parks, streams, ponds, etc and they often enough will mix with the wild birds that come through. I kind of hate to see it, personally.
  17. welcome... I'm just over the border in Arkansas. Parts of that look mostly Canada but the leg color is all wrong. It's a hybrid, as far as I can tell... a cross between a Canada and a domestic bird.
  18. Cool. You should be able to upload a sound file here and there are people that can help ID that way.
  19. indeed. After seeing your initial response and then looking back, I saw that collar and thought it could be a faint "necklace" like you'd see on a Canada and didn't take another look at the bird. Once the other thoughts came in from others I was like... "oh yeah..." Try not to overwork your brain and/or take lots of good birding breaks to center yourself. :)
  20. Talked with another local birder... This guy is younger, a college student, and on the field trips, our local audubon trip leader defers to him for a lot of ID's and counts as he's VERY observant and can hear birds that some of us can't so well. He was a LITTLE supportive of ID'ing by sight but with some words of caution... I'm sure I could be wrong but, I don't think ID'ing by sight is going to be 100% accurate. That's my "opinion" and what I'm going with. I might be wrong, MAYBE you guys can be right about those birds 100% of the time. AND it wouldn't hurt for me to learn these marks just to get better impressions. But I don't think I'll ever completely rely on the visual appearance of either as a positive ID. I'll continue to list the silent birds as empidonax sp. I am okay with being uncertain as it feels better than being completely certain only to be mistaken... which happens to me, and the VERY best of birders. That's one of the fun things that helps me feel less incompetent as a birder... knowing that even Sibley and other leaders will still make mistakes or have birds that they just can't ID sometimes. Brings a smile to my face when a couple of you that I look at as VERY experienced have different opinions on a bird. Helps me remember that sometimes, when I struggle, it's not that I'm JUST inexperienced, some of them are just THAT tough. 🙂 anyway... Thanks for letting me ramble out my thoughts on this. No hard feelings anywhere in any of that.
  21. I'm not going to jump in and give an ID on the warbler but the bird nuts are right about it not being a canada. There should be an eye-ring for that. And I just checked the field guide and it seems the leg color would be different on a canada. The young magnolia(earlier than May according to the book) could look sort of like that with something of a line across the throat(which is what probably prompted the canada ID in the first place) I'm going by drawings in Sibley's 1st ed. so, I'm sure things can be variable. A young magnolia(in the book) should have more marks on it I'd think but, I think it's in transition perhaps. The line around the neck is still present but the bill is darkening already and, the streaks should come in provided that's what it is. Anyway, that's my take on it. I think in the field I would have been REALLY confused if that was my photo, and probably would have posted it here to check as well. :) They're all fun.
  22. This may remain a mystery as the description is based on limiting factors. It was raining and kind of dark out for this time of day... and it was deep in the shadows of a redbud tree. Not THAT dark but, not out in open light either. I saw a small bird hopping about so I got some binoculars on it. Definite warbler. Back color is difficult to say, would want to say brownish but not 100% on that. Yellow on the belly had me focused on that as the rest seemed fairly plain. Seemed the yellow didn't go all the way up the throat. The throat appeared more white than anything... definitely light. I wanted to call it a female common yellowthroat but I'm not sure with such a pale throat compared to the belly. flipped through the field guide very, very briefly. A young female mourning warbler caught my eye but I think that should have had more blueish up on the head and throat by now, compared to how pale the throat was on this bird. Only saw it a few seconds. Gotta love that kind of bird. Just disappeared.
  23. I've talked with several already on this subject... 1 of the older, potentially stuck in his mindset, that is extremely knowledgeable and leads all of our local audubon trips and he said that even in the hand the differences are not so noticeable and it's always safer to just go with emidonax sp if they don't vocalize. Talked with a younger birder that has done some strong research on grassland birds, been studying/birding for 15 years now and said that the " Minnesota Ornithologists' Union quarterly journal doesn't even accept observations of Alder and Willow Flycatchers in the fall if the birds were silent " I'm just curious... if the older pros aren't so keen on this idea, how certain are you that experienced birders(only younger ones?) can make it that easy? Where do you get your info and training? At least can you give me a recognized source that says they are indeed identifiable? just talked with another person that mentioned how plumages can vary for a LONG list of reasons. Can we take all of that into account? Again, I am not TRYING to be difficult(I know it sounds like I am) I just question EVERYTHING. All the experts I know(I know some VERY experienced birders) so far suggest this isn't so easy as you say. I've seen EVERY one of the "experts" here disagree on quite a few species, and get some wrong. Every one of you. So when I see a "yeah, it's that easy if you know how" with species that are known to frustrate THE most experienced birders... My brain can't help but keep pushing til my curiosity is satisfied. I have NO doubt that the BEST birders of yesterday still have much to learn... But this information sounds contrary to what all the sources I've ever checked with so I simply need to question it rather than accept it til I understand it better. If that makes sense. I don't know you, I don't know your experience(even though you are one of the ones I'd be quick to trust here) and I don't know where you've learned what you know. So I weigh those things against what I've learned, seen, and heard from others. I'd love to be able to know with certainty how accurate this way of judging these birds are as it would benefit me, eventually, if I can learn it too. I just want to make certain what I'm learning is THAT accurate. So any information that could put my mind at ease... established websites or books that share these details, etc... would be helpful to me. Sorry for making this such a long discussion. There are MANY IDs that can be made where I can look at an answer, look in a book, and then say "yeah, that makes perfect sense." This one just goes against what I've been taught so far so, I find myself stuck, unsure of what to believe and what to do with that. Interestingly... this thought might make sense in a moment, I haven't seen many empids this year. Seen some least flycatchers... Have seen and heard an acadian and there are pleanty of pewees around but those commonly confused empids haven't been as present as previous years at this time. I'm thinking about that now because I'm thinking, I need to try harder to collect more photos of vocal empids for comparison so see if I can personally see such differences in the birds I can ID by sound. That would, sadly, also depend on me remembering which photos I took of which birds... AND me finding enough of them... AND them sitting still enough for photos. HA Anyway, again, sorry for the length of this.There's nothing personal about this, I just automatically question ALL new information and test it out. LOTS of people learn wrong things from people they trust and they can spend years being wrong because of it. I learned things IN school as a child that, as an adult, I learned were wrong. So, I NEED to know what I'm learning. 🙂 I hope I'm not being a pain. Just trying to learn more confidently. 🙂
  24. bumping my own post here. The sounds I described, well I'll understand if it is confusing and nobody has any thoughts. I'm okay with that... (unless it turned out to be something I haven't seen before... HA) But any thoughts on the thrushes? I'm certain that neither are a veery... and would lean towards swainson's but I wanted 2nd opinions. This should be easy... 🙂
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